How to know if head pain is serious?

When you get a headache, your first instinct may be to take some pain medication and move on with your day. However, sometimes head pain can be a sign of a more serious issue that requires medical attention. So how do you know when it’s time to see a doctor? Here are some tips for determining whether or not your head pain is legit.

The Basics: Understanding Different Types of Headaches

The first step in identifying whether or not your headache is serious is understanding the different types of headaches that exist out there. Some common types include:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Cluster headaches
  • Sinus headaches

Each type has its own set of symptoms and characteristics, which can help guide you in determining what kind of headache you’re experiencing.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are one of the most common types. They typically feel like a dull ache around your forehead, temples or back of the neck — almost as if someone were squeezing your head relentlessly while staring at you blankly from across an empty office cubicle (You know who I’m talking about!)

Some other signs that could indicate tension-related issues include:

  • Tightness in muscles
  • Sore scalp or neck region
  • Feeling fatigued frequently


Migraines come on much stronger than tension-type pain, often accompanied by throbbing sensations along with light & sound sensitivity .It feels like tiny creatures inside our skulls having parties where strobe lighting and loud music are always involved! In fact many migraine sufferers seek pitch-black rooms–safe-haven – during attacks.

Other clues total up to classify migraines,
such as:

  • Nausea/vomiting; vertigo,dizziness.
  • Visual aura prior-/during-the-migraine…


This deserves special mention. Before migraines strike, many folks experience auras: Which initially presents as visual disturbances or hallucinations. You might see flashes of light before or to the side of your vision, things may appear warped, wavy or have shadows..Basically like Alice fell into Wonderland without realizing it! These are indicators that you should call in sick and stay home ;).

Cluster Headaches

If there’s one headache nobody wants then it’s cluster headaches! They’re called “cluster” because they usually come in groups together; sometimes during seasonal shifts commonly associated with pollen counts ,etc.

Cluster headers feel like:

  • A burning sensation behind the eyes (on one side only).
  • Swelling/redness around eye area
  • Nasal Congestion

Sinus Headaches

Sinus infection calls-for an overwork load for our poor nose organs; so when everything gets clogged up (& swollen) that’s when pain begins. It typically feels heavy pressure in facial region particularly around cheeks & forehead areas (where sinuses located). Often accompanied by runny/stuffed-nose sensations.

Red Flags: Signs That Your Head Pain is Serious!

Now that we’ve covered some basics on different types of head pain…here comes where it gets serious-folks!. So what are those tell-tale signs which indicate the head-pain being more than just nuisance? Here’s few key pointers,

  • Sudden onset/severe intensity
  • Post-Injury/head trauma setting
  • Accompanied by weakness/loss-of-balance,
    coordination issues,Fainting spells.

It’s not tough to understand why sudden-onset vomiting/double-vision attacks would necessitate immediate medical attention (C’mon folks)!!

But this isn’t all — here are additional symptoms /signs indicating something-is-off:

  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting after exertion/slight nausea bouts which persist for longer hours compared to normal times.
  • Difficulty speaking/Speaking with slurred words
  • Intense drowsiness/confused states.

What to Do if You Think Your Head Pain is Serious?

So far, we’ve covered the different types of head pain out there and what signs you should look for in determining whether or not your headache is serious. But what should you do if you think that it might be something more than just a simple headache?

Carefully consider all those symptoms mentioned before — If head-pain seems alarming then it’s time to consult-your-doctor ( Not Mr.Google) ASAP! Exams required would include MRI/CT-scans along with checking nerve activity & response through electrodes on scalp.

Prevention: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Headaches at Bay

Let’s finish up this discussion giving tips on how-to-prevent headaches (non-alcoholic ones though) overall:

Handling stress-

It cannot be emphasized enough. With tension-based headaches standing as most common type … So folks are recommended easing-up either by practicing deep-breathing exercises or indulging-in meditation routines; Good too try some relaxing sessions perhaps (like yoga)?

Limit caffeine/alcohol —

Nothing wrong with wanting to unwind but intake of both ingredients often act as trigger points especially when consumed heavily..

Check Supplements/prescription meds–

Make sure preventive-medication wouldn’t aggravate any pre-existing conditions which one may have been unaware of earlier.

Keep yourself hydrated—

Dehydration can increase likelihood-of developing sinus-related/ menopause-induced migraines… This isn’t good news ladies.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, knowing whether or not your head pain is serious requires paying attention to the type of headache you’re experiencing and any accompanying symptoms /signs .If anything does seem off don’t hesitate booking an appointment ASAP with specialist ,cranial injuries arn’t-jokes!. Remember, prevention might be tad-tedious (limits on alcohol -ugh!) but certainly better-than-cure!

Good Luck and stay safe!