Overview of headaches

A headache may be one of the most common pains people experience. Most headaches are not serious, but some signal a serious underlying condition such as stroke. If you have any concerns about your symptoms or experience severe pain, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health for a diagnosis today. Our hospital and outpatient clinic locations can provide neurological services for diagnosing and treating your headache in CA, NV, and AZ.

Symptoms of headaches

The signs and symptoms of headache include head pain, neck pain, muscle tension, sinus pressure, visual “aura” or disturbance, one-sided pain in the head, and even upset stomach. People experiencing headache symptoms may describe the pain as throbbing, pounding, or very tight like a band or vise around the head.

A sudden, severe headache accompanied by one-sided weakness or the inability to speak understandably is a sign of stroke. Dial 911 for emergency medical assistance.

There are different types of headaches. A tension headache is the most common. Tension refers to the tightening of muscles in the face, jaw, and neck. This type of headache is often due to stress. A tension headache is not serious and is usually treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Migraine is a common type of recurring headache. Researchers do not fully understand the causes of migraine headaches. Other headache causes include high blood pressure (vascular headache), sinus infection (traction headache), elevated spinal fluid pressure, bleeding within the brain(cerebral hemorrhage), and infections such as meningitis(inflammatory headache).