When Is A Headache Serious?

Headaches are a common occurrence and nuisance. In most cases, a headache usually isn’t a cause for concern. There are some instances, however, when a headache can be something more serious.

Jason Ablett, DC, specializes in treating headaches at his practice, Pinnacle Health Chiropractic, in Kirkland, Washington. Here, he discusses the warning signs of a severe headache, and when you should seek care.

Types of headaches

The type of headache you experience can determine how serious it is and what’s causing it. Here are some of the most common types of headaches many people experience.

Tension headaches

A tension headache is the most common type. Around three of every four adults have tension headaches, according to Harvard Health. Tension headaches can be mild or moderate, but many patients can get them several times a week.

Tension headaches occur when you have muscle contractions in your head, neck, or shoulders. The pain is often dull, and it feels like your head is being squeezed in a vise. You may also have some tension in your neck and shoulders.

Many things can trigger tension headaches. Fatigue and stress are two common causes, and problems with your neck or jaw can also trigger them.


Migraines aren’t as common as tension headaches, but the pain is much more severe. What makes a migraine stand out is the pounding or pulsating pain that affects only one side of your head.

Certain events and medical conditions can trigger migraines. Some people experience migraines from bright lights, strong smells, or loud noises. Others may get them from not sleeping enough or from medication.

High blood pressure, tooth infections, and preeclampsia can also cause migraines. A migraine can lead to nausea, vomiting, and the pain can be so intense that it disables you. If you experience migraines frequently, visit Dr. Ablett for prompt and effective treatment.

When a headache requires urgent care

It’s not unusual for most people to brush off headaches. A headache is serious and requires urgent treatment if it causes the following problems: 

These headache symptoms can stem from an underlying health condition. Dr. Ablett can perform a comprehensive evaluation to pinpoint the cause and start building a treatment plan for you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your headaches, call Pinnacle Health Chiropractic today to schedule your appointment, or use our online booking tool to set up your consultation.

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