Aaron Chy, BSc General, PharmD Student
Headaches are one of the most common complaints related to pain. They can vary in severity from dull, tolerable aches to a mind-splitting, tear-jerking agony. For the most part, headaches go away on their own and aren’t typically a cause for concern. However, other cases can be more serious, and may actually warrant seeing a professional instead of “toughing it out”.
These are your common, run-of-the-mill type headaches. These headaches generally last a few hours to a few days at most, and generally present as:
- A pressing/tightening feeling1
- Mild to moderate intensity1
- Occur on both sides of the head1
- Not worsened by physical activity1
When Should You Go Seek Care?
There are many other types of headaches including migraines and cluster-type headaches that are more serious. These types of headaches typically don’t respond to over-the-counter medication and are unique in the way they present. If you experience headaches characterized by any of the following, it would be a good idea to see a healthcare provider.1
- Very sudden onset
- Pain in only one place, or one side of the head
- Throbbing, pulsating feeling
- Very severe pain
- Headaches that start to happen more often, or become more painful each time
- Fever, trouble focusing, stiff neck and feeling sick overall
- Abnormal sensations, or visual experiences preceding the headache
Medication Overuse Headache
Is it possible to over-treat headaches? Yes, it is. Medication Overuse Headache (also called Rebound Headache) can occur when using pain medications – regardless of what the medication is – for more than 15 days of the month, or longer than three months straight.2 As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to avoid going over these limits. If you get headaches this frequently to begin with, there may be something else going on, and a visit to your healthcare provider may be warranted.
We hope reading this wasn’t a pain! As always, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.