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Find Healing for a Headache


Headaches are very common and while most aren’t serious, some headache symptoms can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. 

If you’d like the expertise of a trained neurologist for headaches in the Bay Area, Dignity Health can help. For the neurology services you need, Find a Doctor online.

Headache Causes

There are four types of headaches: 

  • Inflammatory headaches are caused by infections, such as meningitis
  • Tension headaches are often the result of stress and cause the muscles of the face, jaw, and neck to tighten.
  • Traction headaches can be caused by acute illness, such as a sinus infection.
  • Vascular headaches are the result of an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure.

A migraine is a severe, recurring headache. Researchers don’t yet know what causes them, but you can see a Dignity Health doctor to learn more about treatment options.

Headache Symptoms

The main symptom of headache is pain in and around the head. This pain is often described as throbbing, pounding, or vice-like.

Generally, headache symptoms may include: 

  • Muscle tension
  • Neck pain
  • One-sided pain in the head
  • Sinus pressure
  • Visual “aura” or disturbance

You should call 9-1-1 right way if you have a sudden, severe headache along with weakness on one side of your body or you can’t speak properly. This could a be sign of a stroke.

Headache Treatment at Dignity Health

Before prescribing treatment, your doctor will examine you for any underlying condition, such as illness, infection, or a neurological disorder. After reviewing your medical history, your doctor may order an imaging test, such as a CT scan or MRI scan.

The goal of headache treatment is to relieve pain and care for any underlying health issues. Treatment may include medications, rest, and lifestyle changes to reduce stress.

If your genes (family history) make you more likely to have headaches, talk with your doctor about prevention strategies. You can help prevent stress and tension headaches through regular exercise and deep breathing therapy. 

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area provide diagnosis and treatment for all types of headaches in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.