When Is a Headache Serious?

When Is a Headache Serious?

You’re congested, or you had a late night out with friends, or maybe you’ve strained your eyes looking at a computer screen. Those are all perfectly normal and temporary causes of head pain and usually no cause for concern. 

But if you experience frequent or debilitating headaches that greatly affect your quality of life, it is not normal.

In this month’s blog post, the team here at Summit Pain Alliance, located in Santa Rosa and Petaluma, California, wants to shine the spotlight on headaches and when you should seek our help.

The migraine

Every 10 seconds in the United States, someone goes to the emergency room because of head pain, and 1.2 million of these visits are due to migraines.

Migraines can be incredibly debilitating for several reasons, including:


People who experience chronic migraine have at least 15 headache days per month.


Migraines can last for several hours or several days.


The primary migraine symptom is pain, usually a throbbing pain on one side of your face. Aside from the pain, many migraines come with other symptoms — before and after the migraine — such as visual disturbances, nausea, and vomiting.

If any of these migraine attributes sound familiar, it’s time to come see us so that we can help minimize the impact that migraines are having on your life. As well, if you have a long history of migraines, but your symptoms are changing, it’s important that you come to see us so that we can determine what’s behind the changes.

Headache rules of thumb

As we mentioned, many headaches are what we call secondary headaches, which means they develop because of other issues, such as sinus congestion. These headaches will clear up once the underlying problem is resolved.

If you’re experiencing head pain that isn’t related to another condition, and you haven’t been diagnosed with migraines, there are a few rules of thumb when it comes to getting help. The National Headache Foundation advises that you seek medical attention if your headaches are:

Please note that if the headache comes on suddenly, you experience vision loss, or it’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

Treating headaches

As a pain management practice, we offer many solutions for head pain that range from nerve blocks and nerve stimulation to lifestyle changes.

If you’d like to learn more about your treatment options or you’re on the fence about whether to seek help for your head pain, contact one of our locations in Petaluma or Santa Rosa, California, for more guidance.

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