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Understanding Headache Causes in Central California

A headache is characterized by pain, discomfort, or general achiness in the head. In most cases, a headache isn’t cause for alarm, but some can be warning signs of a serious condition, such as a stroke

At Dignity Health Central California, our experienced primary care and family doctors work closely with skilled neurologists to diagnose the cause of headaches and provide personal care. Use our Find a Doctor tool to choose a qualified provider who can address your headaches in Central California.


Headache Symptoms

The most common sign of a headache is pain. It can be mild, severe, or come and go. A headache can make it feel like your head is pounding, throbbing, or in a vice. 

Additional symptoms of headache include: 

  • Muscle tension
  • One-sided pain in the head
  • Neck pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Sinus pressure
  • Visual ‘aura’ or disturbance

You should call 911 for any type of sudden, severe headache that comes with weakness in one side of the body or the inability to speak coherently. This could be a sign of a stroke. Dignity Health provides complete care at these hospitals:


What Causes Headaches?

The causes of headaches depend on the type, of which there are four: inflammatory, traction, vascular, and tension. A tension headache is the most common and is often caused by stress. 

Headaches are also caused by:

  • Infections, such as meningitis (inflammatory)
  • Sinus infection (traction)
  • High blood pressure (vascular)
  • Increased spinal fluid pressure or bleeding in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage)
  • Unknown causes — migraines, a recurring type of headache, fall into this category


Headache Treatment at Dignity Health Central California

Mild headaches can usually be treated with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers. For more severe types of headache, our doctors may recommend prescription medicines and other lifestyle changes to reduce stress.

In some instances, a headache can’t be prevented because some people are born with a genetic predisposition to them. This is often true for migraine headaches. If you have a family history of severe headaches, your likelihood of having them is higher.

Your provider at Dignity Health Central California will work to relieve your headache pain and treat any underlying cause. Talk with your doctor about ways to prevent headaches.

Find care for headache symptoms in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA, at Dignity Health Central California.