Understanding Your Headaches

Headaches can make life quite uncomfortable. If you experience them on a regular basis, you may experience challenges with school, work or family responsibilities. That is why getting to the root of the issue is so important. When you know what is causing your headaches, you can take effective steps to manage them. 

Neck Pain Causing Headache?

If your neck or shoulders are tense and sore, you may wonder if the sensation of pressure in your head is related. It probably is. This type of headache, known as a tension headache, occurs when you tense up the muscles in your neck and shoulders. This tension may develop as a result of anxiety, depression, head injury or stress.  Headaches may also happen in response to other factors, including:

  • alcohol intake
  • caffeine withdrawal 
  • cold, flu or sinus infection
  • dental complications, like teeth grinding 
  • fatigue 
  • smoking

What About Blue Lights? 

Whether you spend time looking at your smartphone, communicating on your computer or relaxing with your family in front of a movie, you are inundated with an abundance of blue light. If you experience migraine headaches, exposure to blue light can be associated with a common and possibly debilitating symptom known as photophobia. When you have photophobia, you are sensitive to light, especially blue light. You may also experience photophobia as a result of conditions including dry eyes, meningitis or pituitary tumors.

 If you are experiencing photophobia, your health care provider may recommend blue-blocking tinted lenses or glasses to decrease headaches and improve your sensitivity to light. You do not need a prescription for these tinted lenses or glasses, which have a reddish FL-41 tint.  

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

Because headaches are fairly common, it is tempting to shrug them off and suffer through the pain. However, chronic headaches can disturb your quality of life, resulting in depression, fatigue and stress. They may also be a sign that something serious is happening. Signs that you need to call your health care provider include:

  • chronic headaches 
  • frequent headaches 
  • headache accompanied by symptoms such as confusion, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, numbness, shortness of breath, trouble speaking, vomiting or weakness
  • headaches that are not responsive to medication 
  • headaches with changing characteristics
  • severe headaches 

In some cases, you may need emergency medical care for your headaches. If you are having the worst headache or migraine you have ever experienced, contact your health care provider immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Emergency attention is also necessary if your headache is accompanied by:

  • loss of consciousness 
  • loss of vision 
  • pain that lasts for longer than 72 hours 
  • vomiting that will not stop 

Find a provider to help you handle your headaches.  Need immediate care today?  See an urgent care clinician in under 30 minutes without the need to schedule a visit through our On Demand Care program.