Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Understanding Headache -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of a Headache?

If you feel a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head, you may have a tension headache.

If you feel throbbing that begins on one side and causes nausea or sound/light sensitivity, you may have a migraine. Visual disturbances, such as flickering points of light, may precede a migraine headache.

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Finding Help for Headaches and Migraines

These specialists treat migraine headaches and other pain-related problems. Doctors Who Treat Pain  

Read the Finding Help for Headaches and Migraines article > >

If you feel a non-throbbing pain around one red, watery eye, with nasal congestion on that side of your face, you may have a cluster headache.

If you feel a steady pain in the area behind your face that gets worse if you bend forward -- and if you have nasal congestion as well -- you may have a sinus headache.

Call Your Doctor About a Headache If:

  • You have a severe headache with vomiting, limb weakness, double vision, slurred speech, or difficulty swallowing. This may signal a cerebral hemorrhage or an aneurysm. Get medical help now.
  • You have a new kind of headache that you've never felt before. Does it happen the first thing in the morning, bring on vomiting, and then go away during the day? You may have high blood pressure or, in very rare cases, a brain tumor. See your doctor without delay.
  • You have a high fever and severe pain with nausea and a stiff neck. Does light hurt your eyes? You may have meningitis. Get medical help now.
  • You are drowsy with dizziness, vertigo, nausea, or vomiting after a head injury. You may have a concussion. See your doctor right away.
  • You have recurring headaches.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on March 29, 2013

Today on WebMD

woman receiving acupuncture
14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
Woman with migraine headache
Signs it's not a regular headache.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
desert heat
12 surprising headache triggers.
 
woman receiving acupuncture
Slideshow
Hands reaching for medicine
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
Hormones Headaches
Articles
healthy lifestyle items
Article
 
Sinusitis
Slideshow
headache in the bedroom
Article
 

Special Sections