When Are Headaches a Cause for Concern?

Nearly everyone experiences headache pain at some point in their lives. Many headaches are minor, short-lived, and respond to over-the-counter pain relievers. But it’s wise to seek evaluation if your headaches are moderate or severe, occur regularly, or cause pain that interferes with your daily life. 

Our neurologist and headache specialist, Dr. Ravinder Singh, evaluates, diagnoses, and treats headaches here at Premier Neurology Group and Beverly Hills Headache Institute in Beverly Hills, California. Relief from chronic headache pain is necessary for you to lead a good quality of life. In rare cases, unusual or severe headaches can be a sign of something serious, but fortunately, most headaches are not life-threatening. 

Why do I have a headache?

Headaches are a fascinating area of study. While head pain is common, the cause of headaches isn’t fully understood. We do know that blood vessels that surround the skull, nerves that register pain, and chemical activity in the brain have some involvement. What’s more, there are contributing factors that tend to trigger headaches in people prone to head pain. 

Common headache triggers include:

Chronic headaches are also associated with certain disorders, including chronic sinusitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and depression. 

Types of headaches

There are more than 150 types of headaches. Common types of headaches are tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. In most cases, tension headaches are mild and happen once in a while. However, some people experience chronic tension headaches that occur regularly.

Typically, tension headaches cause a dull, squeezing pain, and it’s often felt on both sides of the head. They can cause pain and aching that radiates down the neck and shoulders 


Migraines are a more severe type of headache. They cause intense pain and are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Migraines are typically felt on one side of the head, can last for hours or days, and can be debilitating. In addition to pulsating pain, you may experience pain around the eyes.

Classic migraines start with a warning sign called an aura that often involves visual changes, such as flashing lights, colors, or shadows.

Cluster headaches 

Cluster headaches occur in patterns known as clusters, and they tend to cause severe pain. These attacks last 1-3 hours on average. Some people get cluster headaches as frequently every other day, and they may occur several times in a day. A bout of attacks can last for days, or weeks. In extreme cases, a cycle of cluster headaches can last months.

When to see a doctor

Come in to see Dr. Singh if you experience frequent headaches or you have a headache that lasts for several days. It’s also wise to make an appointment if you have headaches that seem unusual.

In rare instances, a headache is a sign of something serious. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

Chronic headaches can have a major impact on your daily life. With the help of a headache specialist, you can manage your headaches and get relief.

Our experts can do a comprehensive evaluation to provide you with a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. For headache treatment, call our office to schedule your appointment or use our convenient online booking form.

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