The two most common types of headaches are tension and migraine.
- Tension headaches cause pressure/tightness usually on both sides of the head.
- Migraine headaches often affect just one side of the head. They can cause nausea, vomiting, or make you sensitive to light and sound and they usually start off mild and get worse. Sometimes, migraines can happen along with a “warning sign” such as a flash of light or color in your vision.
One of the most important things to do when you get a headache is to treat it quickly. The longer you wait, the longer it may take to feel better.
- Lie down in a dark quiet room (works best for migraines).
- Use the prescription your doctor gave you for the headache and if there is nausea or vomiting, take your nausea medicine too and try to drink water. If your headache medicine is a pill and not a shot or a nose spray, it may be helpful to take the nausea medicine FIRST and then take the migraine pill.
Call me or consider seeking emergency care if your headache feels different from your usual headaches, especially if:
- You have fever or a stiff neck.
- You have numbness or weakness in your face, arms or legs.
- You have loss of vision or trouble talking/slurring your speech.
- You have balance problems, especially if you have not had those symptoms with a headache before.
- Your headache comes on suddenly and could be described as “the worst headache of your life”.
There are medicines that some people take to prevent migraine headaches. We can talk about that if we need to. Other things that may trigger headaches:
- Skipping meals or eating too little.
- Having too little or too much caffeine.
- Sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep.
- Certain foods like pickled foods, red wine, aged cheese and hot dogs.