If you’re suffering from an especially bad headache, you might hop online and do a quick search to see what might be the cause. More often than not, you’ll get alarming results like cancer or a brain tumor. These possibilities are highly unlikely and your headache is likely due to not drinking enough water or not sleeping enough.

However, there are times when you should actually worry about your headache and seek medical attention. 

mature woman suffering from a migraine headache

You Shouldn’t Ignore Headaches With These Symptoms

The best way to determine if your headache is serious and requires medical attention or not is by evaluating any of your other symptoms. These other symptoms can help point you towards a better answer as to what the cause of your headache is. If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to your headache, you may require medical attention.

  • Headache that wakes you from sleep
  • Nosebleed
  • Fever higher than 102 to 104 degrees
  • Pressure in the back of your head
  • Thunderclap headache
  • Pain that gets worse when changing positions
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Weakness on one side of your body
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Night sweats
  • Hearing problems
  • Swelling on face or head
  • Animal bite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tenderness or pain in one spot on your head
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Pain after coughing, sneezing, or exertion

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above in addition to a headache, you might have a serious condition. Please talk to your doctor at your earliest convenience. 

What Causes Serious Headaches?

A slight headache isn’t something that should raise concern. You can experience a headache for various reasons including caffeine withdrawal, hormone changes, lack of sleep, drinking too much alcohol, or muscle tension. Chronic migraines and headaches usually have more severe causes such as the following.

  • Stroke
  • Tooth or gum infection
  • Heatstroke
  • Concussion
  • Head injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Brain tumor
  • Cancer
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Capnocytophaga infection from cat or dog bites

Without treatment of the items listed above, your headache may worsen and you may develop other symptoms. If you think your migraine is unusual, please do not hesitate to contact a medical professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

When You Should Probably Visit The ER

In some instances, your headache or migraine might be so intense or accompanied by other symptoms that you should make a trip to the emergency room. The question really is, when should you go to the ER for a headache? For instance, if you think you’re having a stroke, or you took a bad fall and hit your head, you should absolutely visit the ER. Pay attention to your other symptoms. Signs of a stroke include drooping on one side of your face, inability to raise both arms over your head, and slurred speech. Seeing a doctor within three hours of a stroke will give you a better recovery.

Another reason you should visit the ER is if you think your headache is from a heatstroke. If you’re outside on a hot day and you begin to have a severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, dry skin, red or pale skin, fast heart rate, seizures, or fainting, you need to visit the ER. You can try moving to a cooler area (preferably air-conditioned), getting into cool water, or putting on wet clothes to cool off.

If you’re pregnant and experience a severe headache in your third trimester accompanied by vomiting, nausea, burning in your chest, or stomach pain, it may indicate preeclampsia which can threaten the life of both mother and baby.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing a headache so severe you can’t function normally, go to the ER. If your headache ever feels like the worst pain you’ve experienced, don’t ever hesitate to seek medical attention. If it doesn’t feel life-threatening but still severe, a quick trip to your doctor won’t hurt.

When You Should Visit Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center For Headaches

Some people experience frequent headaches because they’re not sleeping well enough at night. If you get your recommended amount of sleep every night and you’re still waking up feeling groggy, fatigued, and with headaches, it may indicate that you have a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep repeatedly throughout the night and prevent you from getting the deep restorative sleep you need to function and live headache-free.

If you experience morning headaches in addition to any of the following symptoms, we highly encourage you to visit our sleep dentists in Omaha.

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping, coughing, or choking to catch your breath during sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Falling asleep throughout the day

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, we will evaluate you for sleep apnea. If we think you have it, we will recommend a home sleep test and examinations to diagnose you. Then, we can provide you with a treatment that relieves your symptoms and reduces the health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea. Contact us at (402) 493-4175 to schedule your new patient appointment today.