When To See A Doctor For Headaches and Migraines

When you are feeling pain or pressure inside your head your first thought very likely will be that you are experiencing a headache. While this is technically correct, there are different types of headaches, and their symptoms and causes can vary.

Of course, headaches involve pain that is taking place within any area of your head. Some headaches create discomfort that is confined to one region of your head, while others progress from one location to another. Your headache might suddenly emerge, or it could develop steadily. Your specific type of pain can also vary (throbbing/sharp/dull), as can the amount of time that you experience it (minutes/hours/ days).

The pain that accompanies these headaches could be minor, or you might be contending with pain and pressure that is severe. Understanding what type of a headache that you are having will determine what you can do about your discomfort. It will also be important in terms of how you will respond effectively if the same scenario takes place in the future. For those reasons, it can be important to define the various types of headaches. 

Tension Headaches      

You could be feeling a tension headache, which is created when your muscles contract in the head and neck regions. The discomfort is often described as a tight band of pain around the forehead, and in some cases, there are also muscle aches, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.

This is the most common form of headache, as 90% of all headaches are considered to be tension headaches. Nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. will experience them, and women are more likely to have tension headaches than men.

There are multiple reasons why tension headaches can develop, and the list includes staring at a computer screen for a lengthy period of time, along with caffeine, alcohol, fatigue, smoking, incorrect posture, eye strain, sinus infections, and colds.

The various factors that exist with your family, your friends, your job and other aspects of daily living can also create emotional stress that causes these troublesome headaches to emerge.

Tension headaches are often treated with medications, and it is often beneficial to minimize or avoid the factors that trigger stress once you have experienced this form of a headache.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches involve burning and can also include more intense pain. They are located on only one side of your head, and usually behind or near one of your eyes. Other symptoms such as swelling and redness may also exist in that same eye. Cluster headaches can impact you anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours and can reappear several times each day. Unfortunately, the reasons that cluster headaches occur are less defined than other forms of headaches.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can emerge due to an allergic reaction, and these particular headaches are usually located in the front of your head. In many cases, they are the direct result of seasonal allergies or a sinus infection. If you are experiencing sinus headaches, your doctor could determine that antibiotics are the most effective means of reducing the infection and eliminating your symptoms.


If you are dealing with a migraine, you are more likely to have a throbbing sensation that is more severe than other headaches and is located on one side of your head. Sometimes, migraines are accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and high sensitivity to sound and light.

Once a migraine begins, the pain can be substantial for a number of hours or even days, and might even render you unable to function until the pain has diminished. Sometimes you might receive a warning that a migraine will soon occur. This can include tingling on one side of your face, flashes of light, or blind spots. In some cases, your arm also might tingle before the onset of a migraine.

If you have a history of migraines, it can be extremely beneficial for you to determine what triggers your migraines so that you can attempt to avoid a similar experience. This might require you to keep a detailed record of your activities including food, drinks, and sleep habits as part of your efforts to pinpoint what initiates your migraines.

When To See A Doctor

You should seek immediate medical assistance if you experience dizziness, weakness, loss of balance, or numbness, and are having difficulty moving your body. If you are dealing with blurred, or double vision, if you find yourself unable to speak, or if you are fighting confusion, then you should also have someone take you to a doctor.

Some symptoms of headaches or migraines do not necessarily require immediate assistance, but they should still lead you into a conversation with your physician. These include situations in which you are experiencing three headaches per week or more, or if your headaches continually become worse. Also, if your headaches are affecting your ability to function with your family, your friends or your job, then it is important to talk with a doctor.

At Rapid Med, We Can Help

If you are experiencing any issues with headaches, or have any questions or concerns about this topic, we are ready to assist you at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. In addition to visiting our offices at either location, you can receive the same great care and consideration by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer. It is our new, convenient way of providing assistance, wherever you are, and whenever you need it!

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems:


Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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