HeadachesUnderstanding Headaches

Nearly everyone experiences a headache at some point in life. Rarely does it reflect a serious medical condition. However, some symptoms can indicate a serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention.

  • Severe, sudden headaches
  • Headaches accompanied by a loss of consciousness, alertness or sensation; confusion; or other neurological or personality changes
  • Headaches that recur in one particular area such as an eye or temple
  • Recurring headaches that are of high intensity or frequency
  • Headaches accompanied by neck stiffness and fever
  • Headaches associated with head injury
  • The worst headache you have ever experienced

Headache Basics

There are three basic types of headaches

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches

Diagnosing Headaches

There is no specific test for diagnosing headaches. Classification of a headache requires a detailed physical exam and history. Your physician may refer you to a MidMichigan neurologist.

Many physicians will order tests to rule out diseases or serious brain disorders. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Treating Headaches

Currently there is no cure for headaches. However, most patients can control their headaches with:

  • Physician-prescribed medications
  • Diet restrictions
  • Stress-reduction measures 
  • Physical Therapy