Nothing can impact your quality of life quite like a debilitating headache and migraine. It can prevent you from focusing on work or engaging in social events. June is National Migraine Awareness month and we want to help more people find relief from headaches and migraine pain. If you experience regular headaches and migraines, you might have reached the point where you’re wondering whether you should feel concerned about them.

Here are 6 signs you should worry about your headaches.

hipster with beard suffering from a migraine headache

1. Throbbing Head

One of the first signs you should worry about your headache is if your head is throbbing. Usually, a throbbing head is a sign of a migraine instead of a general headache. If you notice sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, vision loss, or stabbing pain around the eye, these are strong indicators of a migraine. Migraines typically last from 4 to 72 hours and will require medical attention to avoid.

2. Headaches That Wake You

If you wake up in the middle of the night with a throbbing headache or migraine, this is not a good sign. If the pain feels worse at night, this is also a rise for concern. Headaches and migraines that wake you up can be a sign of a tumor or mass. To rule out tumors or masses, you will need an MRI or CT scan of your brain to ensure everything is okay. It’s important to note that brain tumors are extremely rare.

3. Recurring Headaches

Having headaches on a recurring basis isn’t normal in any capacity. If you’re experiencing 15 or more headaches per month or 2 or more per week, we encourage you to talk to a physician. Recurring headaches can be caused by hormonal changes, stress, TMJ disorder, sleep apnea, and other conditions. Once you determine the cause of your headache, it is much easier to find a treatment plan that works. Don’t live with recurring headaches in your life. Keep a journal of your headaches, what you did that day, what you ate, what you drank, and visit a physician.

4. Intense Pain

Sudden, intense pain that feels like a headache is never a good sign. If the pain is so severe you can barely handle it, seek medical help as soon as possible. A sudden intense headache can be a sign of bleeding in your brain or an aneurysm. You really shouldn’t ignore your headache if you experience seizures, loss of consciousness, or blurred vision with it. These are huge indications that something larger is going on.

young woman sitting on side of bed with a headache

5. Headaches First-Thing in the Morning

Another instance in which you should be concerned about headaches is if they occur first thing in the morning. These are common after a night filled with drinking but also if you have untreated sleep apnea. Other signs you should watch for that indicate sleep apnea include loud snoring, choking or coughing during sleep, sleepiness during the day, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, frequent urination at night, irritation or moodiness, weight gain, and insomnia.

If you experience one or more of the symptoms listed above, we strongly encourage you to get tested for sleep apnea. This involves wearing a sleep test device while you sleep that is later evaluated by a sleep physician. Based on the data they collect, they will be able to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea. Then, once you have your diagnosis, Dr. Stafford at Bite Align in Fort Atkinson can help you find the best sleep apnea treatment to fit your lifestyle. Our dental practice offers oral appliance therapy as well as the DNA appliance. Both are comfortable and effective alternatives to CPAP.

6. Headaches With Other Symptoms

The last reason you should be concerned about your headaches and migraines is if they’re accompanied by other symptoms such as jaw, back, and neck pain, chipped or worn teeth, clicking or popping in the jaw, ringing in the ears, vertigo, tingling and numbness in the hands and fingers, stuffy ears, limited jaw opening, and insomnia. If you experience frequent headaches and migraines in addition to any of these symptoms, it’s very likely you have a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders occur when there is an imbalance between the two jaw joints. The imbalance can cause a strain on surrounding tissue and muscle and result in the symptoms discussed above.

At Bite Align, we offer TMJ treatment to help rebalance the jaw joints and relieve you of your painful symptoms. This may involve wearing an oral appliance and reconstructive dentistry for long-lasting results.

Get Headache and Migraine Relief in Fort Atkinson

If you’re suffering from frequent headaches and migraines, our Fort Atkinson TMJ and sleep dentist might be able to help. Please contact our dental office at (920) 563-7323 to book an appointment with Dr. Stafford. Dr. Stafford will examine your teeth, discuss your symptoms, use advanced dental technology for further diagnosis, and refer you for a home sleep test if necessary. Once we can diagnose your problem, we can provide effective treatment to relieve you of frequent headaches and migraines.