Is the Pounding in My Head From a Headache?

Do you have a throbbing in your head that is worse when you move around? Do you suffer from nausea/vomiting and light sensitivity? Does your pain feel like a rubber band is wrapped around your head? Does the pain go away when you go to sleep or is it still there when you wake up? If so, you may be getting headaches. A headache is a pain that is spread to various parts of your head. There are many kinds of headaches including migraine, tension-type, and cluster headaches. A headache is one of the most common pain-related issues in which to seek care.

Common Headache Symptoms

Symptoms of headaches can be varied based on what type of headache you have. Headaches all consist of some kind of pain or pressure on either one side of your head or both sides.

Migraine Symptoms:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Usually on one side of your head
  • Worsened by movement or activity
  • May have a feeling occur before a headache develops

Tension-Type Symptoms:

  • Head does not throb
  • Dull pressure
  • Movement or activity does not worsen pain
  • Usually on both sides of your head
  • Feels like a rubber band is wrapped around your head

Cluster Symptoms:

  • Sharp, severe pain
  • Pain wakes you up from sleep
  • Pain is always on the same side of the head
  • Usually on only one side of your head
  • Congestion, red eye, eyelid swelling on the side of the face your headache is on

Who is at Risk for Headaches?

Different people are at risk for various types of headaches. Migraines are more common in females. They can develop around a woman’s monthly cycle. Migraines can start in childhood or adolescence.

Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache. They occur in both males and females and in people of all ages.

Cluster headaches are more common in men. They usually start in the middle to late 20’s. Cluster headaches tend to get better as we age. These type of headaches are uncommon.

What Will My Doctor Ask Me?

Your doctor will ask you a variety of questions regarding your headaches. They will ask you:

  • If your headache came on suddenly or over time
  • Where the pain is located
  • What type of pain are you experiencing (throbbing, dull, sharp)
  • To rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst pain ever
  • Is this the worst headache of your life
  • If you get headaches often
  • If you develop other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, light or sound sensitivity
  • If anything tends to bring the headaches on (stress, monthly cycle for women, not enough sleep, diet, physical activity)
  • If you take any medications to help with the headache pain or to prevent them
  • If you have had any trauma to your head now or in the past

What is the Treatment for Headaches

Headaches are treated differently based on the type of headache you were diagnosed with and are experiencing.

Migraine Headache Treatment


To prevent a migraine headache, you need to be aware of what is causing it. Make sure to:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid alcohol, especially red wine
  • Limit caffeine
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid foods such as cheese, chocolate, MSG, processed meats, and citrus
  • Do not skip meals


If you suffer from migraines, you know they can be very disabling. Your doctor will give you a prescription medication to make your migraine subside and go away. Usually these end in the word ‘triptan’. They may also prescribe you a nausea medication called Zofran or Phenergan. This will help make your nausea and vomiting diminish and lessen.

Tension-Type Headache Treatment

It is important to try and prevent a tension-type headache from occurring in the first place.

Non-Medication Avenues

  • You need to reduce the amount of stress you are under at work, at home, and due to finances
  • Find a hobby or activity that promotes relaxation
  • Exercise on a daily and weekly basis to avoid tension-type headaches from occurring

Medication Avenues

  • Pain reducers such as Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen, Aspirin, & Acetaminophen with caffeine

Cluster Headache Treatment

Cluster headaches are uncommon. If your doctor states you have this type of headache, the best treatment is prevention. If the medication prescribed to prevent your cluster headache doesn’t work for you, then a drug ending in the word ‘triptan’ will help resolve your cluster headache. Another treatment that works well is 100% oxygen for 10-15 minutes until your headache dissipates.

What do I Need to Know About Headaches? – Patient Education

Headaches can occur for a variety of reasons and have many causes.

  • If you are prescribed a medication from the doctor to prevent migraines, make sure you give it time to work; it can take two to three months for the medication to work adequately and prevent the headaches.
  • Pain relievers such as Tylenol and Motrin can cause rebound headaches. If you take them three times a day every day for a week, you can and most likely will develop rebound headaches when you stop taking the medication.
  • If you feel a migraine headache coming on, try and lay down immediately in a quiet, dark room.

Emergency Warning Signs/When to Follow Up

If you have any of the following signs and symptoms, you need to go to the Emergency Room right away. These are warning signs that need immediate evaluation:

  • A severe headache that starts at the age of fifty
  • A headache in a child three years or younger
  • A headache after trauma/injury to the head
  • A headache with swelling of the eyes or a change in vision
  • A headache with symptoms of a stiff neck and fever
  • Headaches that increase in both frequency and severity
  • A headache that develops suddenly and is literally the worst headache of your life

Why Choose Carefree M.D.?

Carefree M.D. is a safe, secure and reliable way to receive a medical consulation or prescription for your headache online. We connect you via webcam* or phone with a local board certified doctor.

  • One card works for your entire household
  • Unlimited 24/7 access to board certified doctors
  • No paperwork or waiting-you can use it today
  • Month-to-month service with no contracts

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*Idaho and Delaware only allow video consultations. The state of Arkansas offers an initial video visit and the member may choose phone or video for subsequent visits.