“My head hurts.” Most of us have uttered that phrase at some time or another. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a headache is the most common cause of pain among those in the United States. Many headaches are a minor annoyance, but some can cause severe pain that requires the attention of a medical provider.

Headache Diagnosis & Treatment Online or in Person

Dealing with a headache that won’t seem to go away? Or having chronic headaches that keep coming back? An NGPG Urgent Care provider can help you identify the cause of your headache and determine how best to treat it. You can access our services through on-demand video visits, or if you prefer, you can stop by one of our Urgent Care locations to see a provider in person. Choose the option that’s most convenient for you.

Start a visit now and speak with a medical professional in minutes.

  • Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Treats patients 5 years and older
  • Accepts insurance and self-pay

Meet face-to-face with a board-certified physician near you.

  • Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
  • Treats patients 6 months and older
  • On-site diagnostic testing & vaccinations

What is a headache?

A headache is pain felt in the head, scalp, or neck. Most people experience headaches, but they can vary in severity and frequency.  There are also different types of headaches:

  • Cluster headaches, which are sharp and very painful, tend to occur daily for weeks or months at a time. These headaches often happen at the same time each day.
  • Migraine headaches are a throbbing, pounding, pulsating type of headache that affects one side of the head. They are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as sensitivity to sound or light, nausea, or vision changes.
  • Sinus headaches cause pain in the face and front of the head. These headaches are caused by pressure in the sinus cavities behind the face.
  • Tension headaches, which are caused by tightness in the shoulders, neck, scalp, or jaw, affect both sides of the head, often starting at the back and moving forward. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache.

It’s also common to experience headaches when you have a viral infection, such as a common cold or the flu.

What causes a headache?

Headaches can have many different causes and triggers, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Allergies
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive screen time
  • Hormonal changes
  • Irregular eating
  • Low blood sugar
  • Motion sickness
  • Overexertion
  • Poor sleep
  • Stress or tension
  • Strong odors or fumes
  • Weather changes

Most headaches aren’t serious, but headaches that are associated with a head trauma, such as a concussion, should always be treated by a medical provider.

When should I seek care for a headache?

Many headaches can be treated using basic at-home care, including resting, applying ice or a warm cloth to the head, or taking over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatories. Occasionally, though, a headache can be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Seek medical attention if you:

  • Are having headaches that disrupt your daily life or your sleep
  • Are having headaches that don’t respond to over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Can’t determine a cause for your headaches
  • Experience a severe headache along with fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • Have a headache that worsens over days or weeks
  • Have two or more headaches in a week
  • Suddenly have persistent headaches after previously being headache-free

Stop by the NGPG Urgent Care location that’s closest to you for a thorough evaluation and treatment plan. We can help uncover the source of your headache and make recommendations for preventing them in the future.

In some cases, headaches can be a sign of a life-threatening medical issue, such as a stroke. Seek emergency medical attention if you have a headache that is accompanied by a stiff neck, fever, seizure, fainting, confusion, vision changes, or weakness, a sudden and severe headache that feels like the worst in your life, or a headache that begins after a head injury.