Migraine and Headache Awareness Types, Causes, Symptoms & When to go to the ER

Migraine and Headache Awareness

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. The annual observance allows us to raise awareness about one of the most common nervous system disorders, headaches.

Severe headache disorders are concerning because, when left untreated, they can lead to depression, isolation, and self-medication.

Let’s explore the different types of headaches, symptoms, causes, and when to seek emergency care.

At Post Oak ER, the emergency room set at the heart of Houston, Texas, we’re happy to provide you with the emergency care that you need during those crucial hours.  We’re fast, have no long wait times, and are open 24/7 including holidays.

What are Headaches?

As the name suggests, headaches refer to pain experienced on the head or face. The pain we feel doesn’t come from brain tissue, as the brain has no pain receptors. Instead, the pain stems from inflammation of various structures in your head, such as:

  • Nerves located in the head and neck
  • Arteries and other blood vessels that lead to the brain
  • Muscles of the head
  • Sinuses – air-filled hollows in your skull surrounding the nasal cavity


what are headaches

What Causes Headaches?

There isn’t one single cause for headaches. Unfortunately, anything that stimulates the pain receptors in your head or neck can result in a headache, including:

  • Muscular tension
  • Stress
  • Infections
  • Eye problems
  • Dental or jaw problems
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • High blood pressure
  • Dietary susceptibilities
  • Dehydration
  • Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold
  • Injury to the head, neck, or spine
  • Dilated blood vessels
  • Allergies
  • Lack of sleep

Types of Headaches

There are many types of headaches, but the most common are:

  • Tension headaches
  • Sinus headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraines
types of headaches

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches happen when the scalp and neck muscles tense and contract and are among the most common headaches in adults and teens.

Stress, head injury, incorrect posture, depression, or anxiety can cause muscle tension in the head area, resulting in mild to moderate pain.

tension headache
Tension Headache Symptoms
  • Pain on both sides of your head, neck, or face
  • Feeling as if something is pressing on your head
  • The area feels tender to the touch

Sinus Headaches

Your sinuses are air-filled cavities inside your forehead, behind the bridge of your nose, and cheekbones that can become swollen due to allergies, a cold, flu, or an infection.

The inflammation causes an increase in mucus production and blocks the channels that drain your sinuses. As a result, pressure builds up, causing a sinus headache.

In some cases, what feels like a sinus headache is, in fact, a migraine with nasal symptoms.

sinus headaches
Sinus Headache Symptoms
  • Deep and constant pain in your forehead, cheekbones, or the bridge of your nose
  • A dull ache behind your eyes
  • Pain worsens when you move your head suddenly, bend forward, or lie down
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in your ears
  • Fever
  • Thick, colored mucus discharge
  • Swollen or puffy face
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the upper teeth

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are less common but produce severe pain and tend to occur in groups or clusters that recur at similar times.

Cluster headache attacks last between 1 to 3 hours on average with varying frequency. Some patients experience an episode every other day; others may have multiple daily headaches. However, after a cluster period, patients enter remission that may last months or even years.

cluster headaches
Cluster Headache Symptoms
  • Sudden onset of pain around or behind an eye
  • Pain reaches its maximum level within 10-15 minutes
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Irritated or watering eyes
  • Eyelid swelling or drooping
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sweating on the forehead

Because symptoms of a cluster headache can resemble those of other severe conditions, you should always seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis.


Migraine Headaches

A migraine is a neurological disorder resulting in debilitating throbbing pain with episodes lasting for days.

Because migraines affect nerve pathways and certain chemicals in the brain, they often come with a range of symptoms, including nausea, numbness and tingling, visual disturbances, temporary loss of vision, irritability, sensitivity to light and sound, and difficulty speaking.

migraine headaches
Migraine Headache Symptoms

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, but common signs of a migraine include:

  • Severe throbbing or dull aching pain on one or both sides of your head
  • Pain worsens with physical activity
  • Vision changes, including blurred vision, wavy lines, and flashes of light
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and smells
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Stiff or tender neck
  • A tender scalp

When to Seek Emergency Care for Headaches

Mild headaches respond well to over-the-counter medications and don’t usually require medical attention. However, you should see your doctor if you experience recurring headaches.

Please seek emergency care if you experience a moderate to severe headache accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizure
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Muscular weakness
  • Stiff neck
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vision changes
  • Headache following a head or neck trauma
  • Moderate to severe headache that doesn’t improve with your usual medication
signs to got to an emergency room headache

At Post Oak ER, we understand how painful and disrupting severe headaches can be. Our facility has top-of-the-line imaging and other diagnostic technology to help us identify the type of headache you are experiencing so we can provide the best care.


At Post Oak Care ER, we offer free medical screening in case you are not sure whether or not it’s a medical emergency.  Knowing the difference could help save a life.  We’re safe, fast, and open 24/7.

We Are Here to Help

Our expert doctors and caring staff are here 24/7 to provide a helping hand with all your medical emergency needs.  We’re located at 5018 San Felipe St, Houston, TX 77056.

At Post Oak ER, we believe everyone should have access to quality medical emergency care near them in a comfortable and convenient location that offers advanced technology and skilled medical professionals.

Where to go in Case of an Emergency?

At Post Oak ER, our doors remain open to provide care for you and your family.

Looking for the best quality 24-hour Emergency Room services?

If an emergency strikes, you have a choice! At Post Oak ER we’re open during all weekends, and holidays & offer FREE Medical Screening! There is no need to risk your health or your life. Get help from the ER experts when you need it, visit us immediately at 5018 San Felipe St, Houston, TX 77056


Post Oak ER Emergency Room Houston Fast Open 24/7

You may call us, check in online, or walk in as we are always open.

Get back on track to enjoying life, FAST! Here you will find experienced, effective, and caring emergency physicians as well as the best on-site ER technology for everything from minor to major injuries and conditions.

  • CT Scan, Digital X-Ray & Ultrasound
  • Certified Full-Service Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Specialized Pediatrics ER Care Facilities
#PostOakER is the best emergency room near you offering fast, quality ER Care 24/7. We treat the whole family from pediatrics to adults.
Have any questions or need emergency medical care right now? Give us a call:  (832) 581-2277