When Should You Consult a Doctor About Your Headaches?

Headaches can be as bothersome as they are common. Up to 75% of adults aged 18-65 experience a headache within a given year, according to the World Health Organization

And for an estimated 1.7-4% of adults, these headaches occur 15 or more days every month. While many headaches are mild to moderate in intensity and diminish pretty quickly on their own, others are medical concerns that should prompt you to see a doctor. 

Our team of board-certified neurologists at Michigan Neurology Associates diagnoses and treats many causes of chronic headaches and migraines. Read on to find out whether you could benefit from such support.  

Common types of headaches

Three types of especially common headaches include:

Tension headaches are believed to result from muscle tension and stress, although your environment or genetics may play a role. The pain from tension headaches usually affects both sides of the head, potentially with some back or neck pain as well. 

Migraine headaches cause more severe, throbbing pain, potentially along with other symptoms, such as light sensitivity, appetite loss, and nausea or vomiting. Migraines most frequently affect women and may run in families or stem from a chemical imbalance. 

Pain from cluster headaches strikes very suddenly and severely, typically behind one eye. They may only last 1-3 hours — unlike migraines, which may last for several days — and be triggered by alcohol or tobacco use, heat, and foods containing nitrates.

When to see a doctor about a headache

While the occasional headache is generally no cause for alarm, you should call a doctor if your symptoms:

Headache treatments

One reason to consult a doctor, like our neurologists at Michigan Neurology Associates, about your headaches is to find out if you have an underlying condition that needs treatment, such as an illness or injury. 

For mild to moderate tension headaches, stress management and over-the-counter pain medications may suffice. 

If you’re prone to migraines, our medical staff can provide you with comprehensive care to reduce the severity of your symptoms and lower your risk of additional migraine attacks. Your plan may include lifestyle and dietary changes, Botox® injections, or CGRP blockers.

To get support from our neurology specialists at Michigan Neurology Associates, call one of our three locations or send us a message through this website. 

Our Detroit metro offices are located in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and Utica, Michigan. During the pandemic, we’re also offering telehealth and phone appointments.

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