7654 – 156 Street Edmonton, AB T5R 4K7

SNOOP Criteria: Spotting Headache Red Flags

headache, Edmonton migraine relief

Headache can be a scary thing. It can be the kind of pain that makes you think you're dying, and it can be so sudden and unexpected that you're left wondering what happened. If nothing else, headaches are an inconvenience: they make even the simplest tasks feel like a chore, making it hard to concentrate on anything but how much your head hurts. But there's good news: most headaches are not caused by anything serious, and if you know how to identify your type of headache, it's easy to pick the perfect Edmonton migraine relief form.


The American Headache Society Standardized Criteria

The American Headache Society (AHS) has come up with a set of criteria that people, including medical practitioners, can use to figure out the kind of headache at hand. This is important to catch any underlying severe conditions early on and determine if you might need emergency care. They refer to it as the SNOOP criteria. Here's what the acronym stands for:

  • S: Systematic signs and symptoms: Sudden onset
  • N: Neurological symptoms: New symptoms that you have never noticed before 
  • O: Onset: Occurring more than once a day for longer than three days
  • O: Onset of age: Occurring more often than every other day for longer than three months
  • P: Progression: Pain that keeps you from doing normal activities (sleep/work/play)

Using your headache or migraine diary, use SNOOP to characterize your headache. The more details you can take note of, the more comprehensive information you can provide to your physician during your scheduled consultation.


Types of Headaches

Now that you know the criteria to assess your headache, let's dive into what a headache is and its most common classifications. Clinicians define a headache as any pain in the head or neck area. It's a common symptom that you can experience either as a sharp or dull ache or accompanying symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.

There are two major kinds of headaches: primary and secondary headaches. 

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are those which have their own specific cause. They're not related to any other health issues like an infection or tumor growth in your brain tissues - this includes:

Tension headaches

This is definitely a common type of primary headache, and it can be caused by stress, anxiety, and muscle tension. Tension headaches typically affect both sides of your head at once and cause mild to moderate pain. It tends to develop slowly over time, lasting anywhere from two days to two weeks.


Migraines typically cause moderate to severe pain on one side of the head accompanied by vomiting, light or sound sensitivity, and nausea. Sometimes migraines can set off visual aura that lasts for several minutes before pain begins; this is often described as flashing lights or spots in front of your eyes. Migraine signs and symptoms can vary from person to person – for some people, it may cause vomiting only, while others experience sensitivity to sound or light only (or both). They can last for up to 72 hours if not managed immediately.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches cause intense pain on one side of your head that lasts 15 minutes to three hours at a time. They're typically accompanied by redness in your face or eyes and nasal congestion.

Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs)

TACs include cluster headaches and paroxysmal hemicranias (THs). The symptoms for these conditions are closely similar to migraines but less severe; they also tend to occur more often than migraines do (about every month instead of once a year).


Secondary headaches

On the other hand, these headaches are much more serious than primary ones. They are due to an underlying condition such as stroke, brain tumor, or infection. They can also result from side effects of medication abuse.

Medication overuse headaches

This headache is caused by pain medication abuse. Pain medications, when taken excessively, can increase the risks of worse headaches that manifest when you stop your medication intake. You will likely experience throbbing pain in the temples if you have this type of headache. If you have it, we suggest speaking with your doctor to find alternative medications or get referrals to other options for Edmonton migraine relief.

Sinus headaches

Another common secondary headache that people experience. They are typically due to an inflamed sinus, which can cause pressure and pain behind the eyes and the forehead. This type of headache is often manageable with the help of decongestants and other medications that help clear out mucus buildup in the sinuses. Some also relieve their sinus headaches with the help of saline flush, steam inhalation, and meditation. 

Caffeine-related headaches

Caffeine has been shown to cause headaches in some people, so if you're having frequent headaches after drinking caffeinated beverages, it might be worth cutting them out of your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

Hormonal headaches

Hormonal imbalances (like those caused by PMS) may also trigger frequent headaches in some women. If this is your case, talk to a doctor about using birth control pills or other hormone therapy medications to try and stabilize your hormones and prevent future episodes from happening again.


Promising Source of Edmonton Migraine Relief 

If you're suffering from severe or frequent headaches, you may be interested in considering upper cervical chiropractic care – the most natural Edmonton migraine relief form. That's because it has been shown to help people with headaches of all types, including migraines and tension headaches.

How exactly does it work? The art and principle of upper cervical care hinge on the importance of the cervical spine. So, it focuses on adjusting the position of your neck and head to relieve pressure on affected muscles, nerves, and blood vessels and to improve your overall posture. 

If you want to try this holistic Edmonton migraine relief, visit Symmetry Spinal Care. Dr. Blair Schmaus and our whole team would be thrilled to help you overcome your headache problems through the specially designed adjustment technique: NUCCA protocol. You can learn more about the upper cervical chiropractic method and your spinal health from your very first visit! You can reach us via phone (780) 462-0447, email, or online request form.


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Schmaus, call our Edmonton office at 780-462-0447. You can also click the button below.

If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.

We encourage you to learn more about the NUCCA method, so please feel free to ask one of our doctors about NUCCA and how it may help to alleviate your symptoms.
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