Should You See a Doctor for Your Headaches?

Headaches are common and painful, and they can vary greatly in type, severity, and location. Three of four people have an occasional tension-related type of headache at one point or another in their lives. 

Most of the time, headaches aren’t worrisome, especially if they’ve been part of your life for as long as you can remember. However, headaches that develop late in life, are chronic or severe, or are accompanied by other symptoms need evaluation and treatment.

Kimberly Bolling, MD, an expert and caring internist, treats headaches — including migraine headaches — at her Bowie, Maryland, office. Here she provides a few signs that should prompt you to consult a doctor for your headaches.

Is your headache getting worse, or is it changing?

Signs that you could benefit from medical evaluation include whether your headaches have either suddenly or gradually grown worse. Your headache may be more painful than usual, or may last longer. Even a change in pain location could signal an underlying condition that needs evaluation. 

Are you having trouble thinking, seeing, or speaking?

If you or someone you love gets a headache that’s accompanied by symptoms related to cognition, such as remembering or speaking, that could be a sign of a stroke. Another worrisome sign of stroke is a sudden personality change. 

If you suspect that you’ve had a stroke, or that someone you love has had a stroke, go straight to the emergency room.

Are you bothered by lights, sounds, or smells, or do you feel nauseated?

If your headaches are accompanied by sensory-related symptoms, you may have a severe type of chronic headache known as migraines. Migraines are headaches that last for at least 4-72 hours without treatment. You must have had at least five of these headaches to receive a diagnosis of migraine headache.

Migraines can’t be cured, but they can be controlled. Dr. Bolling may offer novel treatments, such as Botox® injections, to reduce the number and severity of flares. She also helps you identify triggers, such as certain foods and activities, to reduce their incidence. 

Did you suffer a recent head injury?

Even a seemingly minor blow to the head could cause damage that needs medical evaluation. If you develop a headache after a car accident, fall, or other type of trauma to your head, call us right away. If you or your child play sports, wear protective headgear to minimize the risk of head trauma.

Did you first develop headaches as an adult?

Late-onset headaches could be a sign of neurological damage, including an ischemic stroke. Migraines that begin after age 50 are particularly worrisome. Sudden-onset migraines that begin over age 50 and are caused by an ischemic stroke are often accompanied by an aura, which may take the form of flashing lights or other visual effects.

Do headaches make it hard to get through your day?

Whether your headaches are accompanied by other symptoms or not, if they interfere with your daily functioning, you deserve relief. 

Dr. Bolling works with you to identify your unique headache triggers so you can avoid headaches whenever possible. Once she understands the type and severity of your headache, she custom designs a treatment plan.

If you’re troubled by chronic headaches, or notice a change or new symptoms to your regular headaches, call our Bowie, Maryland, office today at 301-352-0090 or request an appointment online. You can also send a message to Dr. Bolling and the team here on our website.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Joint Pain? It Could Be Lupus

If you have joint pain, you may dismiss it as age-related arthritis. Or a side effect of a too-vigorous exercise routine. But joint pain could be an early sign of an autoimmune disease called lupus. Here’s what to do.

How Stress Can Impact Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you keep tabs on your blood sugar and your diet and exercise too. But you should also keep tabs on your stress levels. Taking time for a “chill pill” is an important part of diabetes control. Here’s why.

What Happens to Your Hormones After You Lose Weight?

You’ve heard all about the health benefits of losing weight. But did you know that achieving a healthy weight and staying fit also keeps your hormones balanced? If you’d like to improve the way you look, feel, and age, weight loss could be the key.

The Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Your doctor delivers the news: You have diabetes. And then they say, “It’s Type 1.” Or maybe “Type 2.” What’s the difference between Type 1 and 2 diabetes? Do the differences change your treatment plan?

Who Gets Gout?

If you got your information solely from movies, plays, and books, you’d think the only people in the world who get gout are wealthy, obese, white men. Not true. Anyone can develop gout, especially as they age. Are you at risk for painful gout?

Which Type of Sleep Apnea Do You Have?

You snore. You snort. You wake yourself up. It’s no wonder you never feel rested. You do an internet search and realize that you might have sleep apnea. But there’s more than one type. So how do you know which type applies to you?