How to Deal with Morning Headaches?

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents

Share:

Headaches can be a nuisance, but they’re not always a cause for concern. Most headaches are benign and will go away on their own. However, if you find yourself experiencing a lot of headaches, or if the pain is severe and accompanied by any neurological symptoms, it’s important to get evaluated. There are a variety of causes for headaches, including dehydration, food allergies, sinus infections, and Meniere’s syndrome.

Most of the time the morning headaches are found to be benign. However, if you find yourself frequently waking up with headaches, it’s important to pay attention to the type of pain you feel and if you’re experiencing any accompanying neurological symptoms. With this knowledge, you can narrow down the cause and get relief.

For the most part, headaches caused by sinuses are benign and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you find that your headaches are increasing in frequency or severity, it’s important to see a doctor. There, they can determine the cause and recommend the best course of treatment.

Symptoms of Morning Headaches

Morning headaches are usually rare, but if they occur, it is necessary to exclude sinister pathologies that might indicate increased intracranial pressure in the brain.

The morning headache with increased nausea and vomiting is considered as a sign of increased intra cranial pressures until proven otherwise.

The symptoms that may accompany morning headaches are as below.

  • Nausea
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Eye symptoms: drooping of eyelid/swelling/ blurring of vision
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Difficulty in holding an object
  • Gait abnormalities
  • Speech abnormalities
  • Nasal Bleeding

How to evaluate a morning headache?

If you experience any of these neurological symptoms along with your morning headache, you should seek medical attention right away as they may be indicative of a more serious problem.

The neurological symptoms are

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Slurring of speech
  • Gait problems
  • Confusion

Headaches without neurological symptoms are usually benign and are not indicative of a more serious problem.

Headache with neurological symptoms might indicate Sinister pathology. The morning headaches that come with neurological symptoms can appear with acute or chronic symptoms. The acute pathology with neurological symptoms might needs early treatment.

Benign Morning headaches

Tension Headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, with pain caused by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw. Tension headaches can appear as morning headaches. The main triggering factor for tension headaches is non-other than stress, depression, or mental instability.

The pain usually builds up slowly and is dull and constant. Tension headaches can last for 30 minutes to several days and usually happen once or twice a week.

Sinus Headache

A sinus headache is an intense pain that typically occurs over the sinuses of the head. It is often caused by a swelling of the sinuses known as sinusitis. Treatment for a sinus headache typically includes antibiotics and pain relief.

Migraine Headache

Migraines usually cause a throbbing sensation on one side of the head. Some people have migraines without a headache, though.

Migraine headaches are a type of recurring headache and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to the external environment. Migraines usually last for several hours to a couple of days.

You may see flashing lights, have trouble speaking, or feel nauseous. Some people have an aura before their migraine starts.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are a type of headache that is less common. It is a unilateral headache characterized by unilateral eye pain. Attacks last from 15 minutes to three hours and can occur daily in cycles with brief remission.

The pain-free periods can last for days or even weeks.

Hypnic Headache

Hypnic headaches often occur during sleep, and it is a rare type of headache.

The pain of this headache is typically dull and throbbing and may last for 30 minutes to several hours.

Identify Benign Morning Headaches by Using a Pain Pattern!

Not everyone experiences headaches the same way. An individual’s headache pain can vary based on the cause, location, and other symptoms. Some people wake up with a headache, while others have a headache that gets worse throughout the day.

If you have headaches with unusual neurological symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. Headaches may be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, changes in sleep or eating habits, weather changes, bright lights, or loud noises.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), there are four main types of headaches: tension, cluster, migraine, and sinus.

  • The majority of morning headaches are tension headaches, which present as isolated pain in the head and neck.
  • Sinus headaches are a type of headache that is usually caused by a virus and occurs most often in adults between the ages of 20 and 40. They often have runny noses and a feeling of pressure on their faces over their sinuses.
  • Migraine: Some people may experience unilateral or bilateral throbbing headaches that may persist for up to 4 hours to 72 hours. Other systemic symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, may occur in the patient.
  • Cluster headache is characterized by unilateral headache with unilateral eye pain. It is a severe pain that may wake the patient from sleep in the morning.

Morning Headache with Neurological Symptoms

If your morning headache is accompanied by unusual neurological symptoms such as weakness, sensory changes, or changes in your level of consciousness, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

These neurological symptoms could be caused by a bleed in the brain, inflammation of the brain or an infection. Your doctor will likely order a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for signs of these problems.

Morning Headache with Acute Neurological Symptoms

There are many potential causes of morning headaches, and each person experiences them differently. It’s important to see your doctor in order to rule out the root cause and receive the appropriate treatment.

When morning headaches accompany neurological symptoms, the following conditions need urgent medical interventions

Stroke

Morning headaches can also be a symptom of a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency. A stroke is when part of your brain isn’t getting enough blood flow, and this is due to either a blocked blood vessel or a bleeding blood vessel. The bleeding blood vessels are more likely to cause morning headaches.

If you have a morning headache and it is accompanied by any neurological symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as this could be indicative of a stroke.

Stroke is not condition that can delay. Call the local emergency number immediately. Brain tissue is very sensitive to a lack of oxygen and can start to die within minutes.

Meningitis

When headaches are associated with fever and worsen with movement and cause difficulty in seeing, it may indicate meningitis. The fever may be high, and there may be a rash on the skin in these patients.

Meningitis is a serious infection that can cause permanent damage or even death if it’s not treated right away.

Brain Tumor

In some cases, seizures, changes in behavior, and even a coma can result with morning headaches. If you experience any of these neurological symptoms along with morning headaches, you should seek immediate medical attention. Morning headaches that are accompanied by a seizure or weakness may also indicate a brain tumor. Although this is rare, it is a medical emergency.

Some of the early symptoms of a brain tumor include:

  • Worsening Headache with lying down
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in vision
  • Memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Balance or coordination problems
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Seizures

High Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled hypertension can cause increased blood flow to the brain and let the brain vessels be over flooded with blood. This will, in turn, cause vascular dilatation and synapse formation.

As the brain is an enclosed place, the excess pressure cannot be kept at bay. This will result in vascular ruptures and tiny hemorrhages will appear in the brain.

These insults to the vessels will cause a headache. When there is acute damage to the brain, heart, or kidney occurred with high blood pressure and needs early correction of Blood pressure and it is called a hypertensive emergency.

Aneurysm

Aneurysms are a common type of vascular malformation; a balloon-like sac that can burst, leading to life-threatening bleeding. Symptoms of an aneurysm include sudden pain, weakness or numbness, and high blood pressure.

The most common cause is a ruptured aneurysm, which is a tear in one of the arterial walls that supply blood to the brain.

They can occur in any type of artery, but they are most common in the larger arteries of the head and neck. Aneurysms are treated with surgery,  if not these will rupture leading to death.

CO Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a possibility if you notice such symptoms after using an unvented fuel-burning space heater.  Carbon monoxide is lethal gas may interfere oxygen transport in the blood when inhaled in lethal doses.

Unvented, fuel-burning space heaters can release carbon monoxide into the air, so if you have one of these heaters in your home, make sure it is vented properly. If you think you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately and call a doctor or poison control center.

If you have symptoms of headache, nausea, vomiting with breathing difficulty in the morning while your heater is on, suspects carbon monoxide poisoning and act immediately. If the exposure is severe, you might need to go to the hospital for treatment. For less exposure, you can try some home remedies.

Morning Headache with Chronic Neurological Symptoms

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Sleep apnea and lack of sleep are possible causes of morning headaches. Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Airway can get blocked during sleep, due to increased fat content in throat area and as the tongue falls backwards during sleeping. This will reduce the oxygen in your blood. Repeated cycles of apneic episodes will cause low oxygen levels in the blood and morning headaches.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can also cause morning headaches. Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent you from sleeping soundly through the night. You may wake up often during the night or have trouble falling asleep. As a result, you may get less sleep than you need and feel tired during the day.

If you are a morning person, you may have experienced the occasional headache in the morning. Waking up with a headache can be frustrating and may make it difficult to start your day. While there are many possible causes of morning headaches, some of the most common causes include sleep apnea and sleep disorders, dehydration, and stress.

Snoring

Many people who snore do not realize it, but snoring can actually be a symptom of sleep apnea. There are a number of reasons why someone may snore. People who sleep on prone position  tend to snore more. This is because when you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate fall to the back wall of your throat. This narrows the airway and can cause a vibration when you breathe.

Medications

Headaches can be caused by the regular use of medications.

A large number of people suffer from morning headaches, also known as rebound headaches. These headaches can result from using medications to treat regular headaches, such as migraines.

In some cases, overuse of these medications can lead to headaches. The main causes of morning headaches are still unknown, but they may be due to the way that these headaches are treated.

Hangover

Ethanol is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose water through increased urination. As the body becomes dehydrated, blood vessels constrict. The lack of water in the body also causes the brain to shrink slightly and pull away from the skull, which causes pain. The pain is made worse by the fact that alcohol is a vasodilator, which means it causes blood vessels to expand.

You might also vomit, which can also lead to dehydration. The lack of fluids and electrolytes can cause headaches.

Ethanol is a psychoactive drug that acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The primary active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, it is classified as a sedative-hypnotic and has been associated with hangovers and headaches. An alcohol-induced headache can cause a throbbing sensation or a dull ache.

This dehydration can lead to headaches, and these headaches often manifest in the mornings.

Alcohol also irritates the stomach lining, which can cause nausea and vomiting.

Insomnia

Studies have shown that people who have trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, wake up too early, or wake up feeling un-refreshed are more likely to have a morning headache. Morning headaches are caused by changes in the blood vessels in the head. These changes can cause blood to flow more slowly and turbulently in the vessels of the head, leading to a headache.

Insomnia can lead to various physical and mental disorders. It can cause a headache in the morning, as well as problems with concentration, energy, and sleeping habits.

Depression

Morning headaches are a common symptom for people with anxiety or depression. Some possible causes include stress, caffeine, sleep deprivation, and irregular eating habits. Check with your doctor to see if there’s anything you can do to reduce your chances of getting a headache.

TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a very common cause of morning headaches. The TMJ is a connection between your jaw and your skull, and when it starts to hurt, it can spread to the surrounding muscles and cause a lot of pain.

There are a lot of things that can cause TMJ pain, but the most common ones are bad chewing habits or excessive jaw movement. If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, you should see a doctor to figure out what’s causing it.

The pain signals of the joint can spread to other area as referred pain and will cause a morning headache. The most common symptom of TMJ syndrome is a pain in the front of the head.

Circadian Rhythm

Symptoms of circadian rhythm disorder can include difficulty waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and excessive daytime fatigue. These symptoms can interfere with daily life and work. Circadian rhythm disorder is caused by a disruption in the body’s natural daily rhythm. It can be caused by a change in the time of day or exposure to light at an inappropriate time of day.

Morning headaches are a common problem, with origins that run deep into our circadian rhythm. They can be caused by a variety of things, including shift work and jetlag, but they can also be the result of a disorder known as circadian rhythm disorder.

Teeth Grinding

Common causes of morning headaches are teeth grinding and teeth clenching, which are also known as bruxism. Bruxism is an unconscious behavior that often occurs during sleep and puts strain and pressure on the teeth and jaw. This can lead to morning headaches as well as migraines and tension headaches. If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about how to treat bruxism.

Visit the doctor

If you experience head pain and neurological symptoms, you should always consult with a medical professional. Symptoms like those mentioned at the beginning of this article are considered abnormal until proven otherwise. Therefore, if you experience these symptoms, you should consult with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Headache pain is one of the most common complaints in medicine. It is not always benign, however, and can be caused by many different conditions. Determining the cause of head pain is important.

You may want to seek medical attention if any of the following is true:

  • Head pain combined with neurological symptoms is always considered abnormal until proven otherwise.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to relive acute pain.
  • Many people experience occasional morning headaches, also known as “alarm clock headaches”. While these headaches typically aren’t a cause for concern, frequent or severe morning headaches could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
  • If you have head pain with a fever, stiff neck, or changes in your mental status, such as confusion or difficulty waking up, you should go to the emergency room immediately.

Treatment

When you suffer from a headache in the morning, the last thing you want is to feel like a caged animal. There are a variety of treatments available to you, so find the one that works best for you.

Some people prefer over-the-counter medications, while others might need to see a doctor. You do not have to suffer with headache in silence!

A headache is a pain that is felt on one or both sides of the head. It can be quite debilitating, and treatments vary depending on the cause.

There are several treatments for morning headaches.

  • Resting
  • Drinking fluids
  • Taking over-the-counter pain reliever medications
  • Avoiding caffeine

Migraines

Migraines can vary a lot from person to person, and so can the treatments that work for each individual. There is no “one size fits all” solution, but there are a few general things that can help.

For many people, morning migraines are the worst part of the day. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain and make the mornings more bearable.

First, it’s important to know your triggers. If you can avoid them, you may be able to avoid migraines altogether.

Some possible causes of morning migraines include dehydration from not drinking enough water overnight, changes in hormone levels (for women), hunger, and exposure to light. If you wake up with a headache, drink a glass of water and see if that helps. You might also try eating a small snack. If neither of those works, sit in a dark room for a little while.

However, there are some general tips that can help you manage morning migraines. If you wake up with a headache, these might help to alleviate headache.

Take a pain killer Drink lots of fluids, especially water.

Apply a cold compress to your forehead for fifteen minutes. However, there are still a few tried and true treatments that work for most migraineurs. These can be used to help prevent migraines or to help ease the pain and symptoms once a migraine has already begun.

Treating Sinister Morning Headache

Many people with morning headaches try over-the-counter (OTC) remedies without any success. These include drinking cold liquids and taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. While these measures may help lessen the headache, they often do not solve the underlying problem.

If your headache is severe and does not improve with OTC remedies, you should seek medical help.

Headaches can be a nasty, persistent problem. There are a number of treatments available, and the best way to find out what will work for you is to talk to your doctor.

Key Messages

  • First, if your headache is accompanied by neurological symptoms or changes in vision, it’s worth considering whether it’s a sign of a more serious condition.
  • Secondly, if your headache is particularly severe and lasts more than four hours, see a doctor.
  • Finally, make sure to report any headaches that last more than two weeks to your doctor, as they could be a sign of a more serious condition.
  • A headache is a common complaint, but it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. Approximately one-third of all people with morning headaches have an underlying neurological problem, such as a tumor or aneurysm.
  • If you’re experiencing any neurological symptoms at the same time, like a change in vision or dizziness, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
TAKE A FREE ONLINE ASSESSMENT TO SEE IF ANXIETY TREATMENT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
Related articles