Most of us consider a headache as a minor complaint that’s just part of life. Although it’s true that everybody gets a headache from time to time, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously. There are times when your headache needs attention.

Here are some tips for knowing when to talk to a doctor about your headache.

young woman sitting in front of her laptop screen, closing her eyes due to a headache

Headaches in the Morning

Morning headaches are one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening. If you are often waking up with a headache, you should talk to your doctor about scheduling a sleep test to determine whether you have sleep apnea.

Headaches Don’t Respond to Medication

If you get headaches that don’t respond to the recommended dose of over-the-counter pain medication, it may be a sign that something is wrong. This includes headaches that recur frequently enough that you are at risk of overusing pain medication (check the label for guidelines).

Headaches Get Worse or Change Type

If your headaches are becoming worse or more frequent, it can be a sign that they are a symptom of a progressively worsening condition. If you are used to headaches that affect one type of your head, and suddenly they affect a different part of your head, or have pain of a different type, you should talk to your doctor about them.

Headaches That Come with Other Symptoms

Always pay attention to what else is going on with your headaches. If you experience other symptoms at the same time as your headache, such as fever, severe nausea, or vomiting, it may be a sign that your headache is one symptom of a more serious condition, such as an infection or an aneurysm.

Headaches and TMJ

TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder, is a common cause of recurring headaches. If you suffer frequent headaches that your doctor hasn’t been able to explain or treat, TMJ treatment may help. TMJ treatment can even help reduce your migraines.

If you want to learn whether TMJ treatment can help your headaches, please contact Smile Columbia Dentistry today for an appointment at our office in Columbia, SC.