Serious Morning Headache Symptoms
There are two concerning exceptions of morning headaches that dont fit neatly into the categories I mentioned above. While rare, they are still worth considering, as they may be overlooked:
- Infections: Any infection involving the lining of the brain causes extreme pain and usually a stiff neck. Because the lining of the brain is called the meninges, we call those infections meningitis.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is lethal when inhaled in large quantities. Unvented, fuel-burning space heaters can release carbon monoxide and this might cause you to wake up feeling light-headed and nauseous. If you have these symptoms and you have a space heater at home, and if anyone else in the house has the same symptoms, step outside immediately and consider seeing a doctor.
Is Your Headache One
If your headache in the Morning is behind your eyes or eyebrows, its likely to be a tension headache. However, if the pain feels like its concentrated on just one side of your head you may be experiencing what is known as a cluster headache.
Rare, but debilitating, cluster headaches are a type of headache that happens in cycles that can last weeks or months. The pain of a cluster headache tends to focus behind one eye or on one side of the head.
You Wake Up With A Headache Because Of Diet Issues
Theres no hard and fast scientific understanding of what causes headaches and migraines, but the answer may lie in part in a persons diet. If youre waking up with headaches routinely, take steps to find a diet that may help keep the problem at bay. It may be the food youre eating before you go to bed thats causing the problem.
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How To Evaluate Morning Headache Pain
The first step in evaluating your morning headache is to notice whether you have any neurological symptoms. This will help determine whether your headache pain needs urgent medical attention.
Keep in mind that morning headache pain with no neurological symptoms usually means that its just a tension or sinus headache. This type of pain is common and represents 90% of all headaches. The remaining 10% of headaches that come with other neurological symptoms are typically either migraines or headaches from ailments like earaches. While unpleasant, these types of headaches are usually not concerning, either. Only a very small percentage of headaches with neurological symptoms require immediate medical attention. The key is to identify these rare instances, which is why knowing how to recognize abnormal neurological symptoms is vital.
What Makes Your Headache Better
- As mentioned above, dehydration or low blood sugar can cause headaches in the morning, so if having a meal seems to resolve your symptoms, thats a likely culprit.
- If coffee is what gives your headache relief, then it may be caused by caffeine withdrawal.
- Migraines are sometimes treatable with rest and by minimizing noise and bright lights.
- If you are on medication, stopping may ease the headache. Since you are likely on your medication for a specific reason, its extremely important to never stop taking any medicine without your doctors approval.
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Hope For Morning Headache Sufferers
As varied and numerous as the causes and types of morning headaches are, the treatments and therapies are equally plentiful â from stress management techniques and natural remedies to medications and supplements. Get a full medical exam and talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
Thankfully, you donât need a medical degree to address sleep problems, improve sleep hygiene, and reduce sleep debt. The RISE app gives you a clear picture of your sleep debt and circadian rhythm and can send you reminders for the sleep hygiene habits you want to adopt for better sleep, better days, and fewer headaches.
How Do I Stop Morning Sinus Headaches
Are sinus headaches in the morning dragging down your day? Have you tried OTC painkillers, irrigation, decongestants, and everything else on our how to prevent sinus headaches list, all to no avail? If so, its definitely time to seek professional help.
At Kaplan Sinus Relief, our team of professionals is here to put your morning sinus headaches to bed. Permanently. We can treat an array of sinus conditions, but we specialize in the minimally invasive sinus procedure known as balloon sinuplasty now available with IV sedation.
Balloon sinuplasty restores your sinuses natural drainage pathways and can help you find relief from sinus headaches in the morning and other underlying issues .
For more information on this revolutionary treatment, call 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today!
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When Should You See A Doctor
Some morning headaches can be relieved by simple lifestyle changes. However, if they persist, it is best to consult a doctor. This is particularly important for people over 50, children, or who have had serious illnesses such as cancer.
If any of these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention.
- Severe headaches that cause stiffness in the neck, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
- Even if the headache does not start immediately following the injury, it can cause headaches.
- Headache is characterized by confusion, weakness, double vision, or loss of consciousness.
- Sudden changes in the pattern or severity of headaches
- Headache that causes weakness, numbness, or facial drooping.
- Seizures or headaches accompanied by shortness of breath.
Sleep Loss And Insomnia
Because sleep deprivation is a common cause of morning headaches, people with insomnia also have a high risk of experiencing morning headaches. People with this sleep disorder struggle to fall asleep or to stay asleep. As a result, they often do not get sufficient sleep and may feel unrested or sluggish during the day.
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What Causes Early Morning Headaches
If youre like many morning headache sufferers, the origin of that pulsing pain in your skull is probably tied to lifestyle habits, sleep disruptions, or a poor sleeping position. But your mental health can play a role in triggering morning headaches, too.
If you feel like youre always asking yourself, Why do I have a headache when I wake up? here are the most common causes youll want to consider:
What Else Does Nasal Breathing Do
One of the most important ways that nasal breathing helps oxygen flow is via a gas called nitric oxide. The role of nitric oxide in the body and respiration was only recently identified.
Nitric oxide is produced in the nasal sinuses by specific enzymes. Its instrumental in delivering oxygen around the body efficiently because it regulates blood flow. When it mixes with air delivered to the lung, it increases arterial oxygen tension and reduces blood pressure.
Nitric oxide also has a vital role deep within your bodys cells and is produced elsewhere in the body but the biggest contributor is the minute amounts inhaled through the nose into the lungs.
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How Your Doctor Can Help
Occasional headaches probably arent a big deal, but if they become your regular Monday through Sunday wake up call, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or headache specialist who can help listen to your history and perform a comprehensive exam.
Your doctor can lead you to the right diagnostic studies to determine if sleep or other issues are contributing to the headaches, followed by a treatment that may improve the underlying cause or factors that are leading to morning headaches and a difficult start to the day, Dr. Yancy said.
To find a Banner Health specialist near you, visit bannerhealth.com.
Early Morning Awakening Headache
Cluster, migraine and tension-type headaches may produce a headache that awakens an individual in the early morning hours , or is present upon awakening. Those individuals with chronic tension-type headache are most likely to be awakened in the early morning hours due to headache. This headache also tends to be at its worst severity at that time of day. A variety of causes may account for this early-morning pattern to the headaches.
Depression is most often associated with chronic tension-type headaches. Additionally, withdrawal effects from pain medications, ergots and caffeine often produce this pattern. Several important physiological changes that occur during these early morning hours can influence migraine and tension-type headache, as well as symptoms other than headache.
Between about 4 AM and 8 AM, the body tends to produce less of its natural painkillers, the endorphins and enkephalins, than at other times of the day. Adrenalin is released in larger quantities during the early morning hours. Since adrenalin affects blood pressure and the regulation of dilation or contraction of the blood vessels, it may play a role in migraine attacks.
Serious diseases may cause early morning awakening headaches. These diseases may include brain tumors, sleep apnea, and severe high blood pressure.
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What Are Cluster Headaches
- Primary headaches: Start because of a response from the part of the brain that communicates pain. A primary headache is its own health challenge, not part of a larger issue.
- Secondary headaches: Start because of another health condition. Several things can cause these headaches, including ear infections, nasal congestion and dehydration.
Cluster headaches can disrupt your life for weeks or even months at a time. They tend to follow a pattern, often showing up at the same time each day. They can also wake you up an hour or two after going to bed. These nighttime headaches may feel more severe than those during the day.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Recurring Sleep Apnea Headache
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep condition when a person intermittently stops breathing during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring and morning headaches. At Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat Associates in Atlanta, GA, well help you get rid of your recurring sleep apnea headache along with the symptoms that come with it.
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Do You Get Headaches After Morning Workouts
Sometimes your headache might not come immediately in the morning but instead seems to arrive after finishing your early exercise routine.
If you notice that you get headaches after working out every day, there may be a connection. Exercise can trigger a headache for a few different reasons: muscle tension, effects on blood pressure, or you arent drinking enough during the workout and are getting dehydrated.
When Are Morning Headaches More Serious Which Diseases Are Associated With Morning Headaches
- The diseases most commonly associated with headaches are meningitis, an infection of the spinal cord, or a brain tumor. Shingles can also trigger a headache.
- Other possibilities include trigeminal neuralgia , aneurysm, temporal arteritis, or other autoimmune disorders.
- None of these cause headaches in the morning specifically, and all can cause bad headaches, at any time of day.
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Morning Headaches: Overview And Ache Types
Most people who have experienced the uncomfortable symptoms of a headache know how challenging it can be to carry on with your regular routine. Waking up with a headache can make it especially hard for you to get on with your day.
There are a few different types of morning headaches, each with their own symptoms:
- Tension headaches are caused by tight, contracted muscles around the head, neck, face, or shoulders. Both physical and emotional factors can influence muscle tension.
- Cluster headaches are especially painful and can occur in the middle of the night. You may feel pain behind one of your eyes or to one side of your head.
Unilateral headaches are when pain is on one side of the head, while bilateral headaches cause pain on both sides of the head. Morning headaches may also cause you to experience sensitivity to light or sound , which can aggravate your headache symptoms.
If youre waking up with headaches in the middle of the night, this could be something called a hypnic headache. Hypnic headaches are less common than morning headaches, but they can still be disruptive to your health and routines. For treating this uncommon type of headache, its advisable to carefully evaluate the underlying causes behind it. Speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist if you repeatedly wake up with headaches in the middle of the night.
Jaw Clenching Or Grinding
Grinding or clenching teeth can occur without the individual even realizing it. You may have a morning migraine or headache but not notice symptoms from the jaw.
Clenching throughout the night can lead to fatigue and exhaustion of jaw muscles.
Individuals may notice a stiff jaw, aches in the temples and even damaged teeth. Extreme forces can occur in individuals who grind or clench during sleep. This is often several times more forceful than teeth clenching whilst awake during the day.
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The Signs Of A Sinus Headache
A sinus headache rarely occurs without other signs of congestion. When headache is your only symptom, its probably not related to your sinuses.
Other signs or symptoms of a sinus headache are facial pain, teary or reddened eyes, postnasal drip, and head pain that gets worse when youre leaning forward, says Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, a headache specialist and an assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The facial pain related to a sinus infection is located in the sinus areas around your eyes, cheeks, and forehead.
A headache can occur as part of an upper respiratory infection or follow a typical cold possibly causing pain over the involved sinus, explains Drexler.
In this case, there is often tenderness over the sinus area, and the pain usually begins an hour or so after the person gets out of bed in the morning. Congestion and mucus production often yellowish or greenish if there is a bacterial infection, or clear discharge if its a viral infection are associated signs, as is fever.
Preventive Medications And Treatments
Especially for tough-to-manage, chronic migraine cases , doctors may prescribe medications to prevent the onset of attacks. These abortive drugs include:
- Beta-blockers:Drugs of this class, like Tenormin and Inderal LA , lower blood pressure and have been shown to help with migraines.
- Tricyclic antidepressants: Elavil and Pamelor , among others, are a type of antidepressant that can also help with pain.
- Antiepileptic drugs: Medications to prevent seizures, antiepileptic drugs, like Depakote and Topamax , are also prescribed for migraine.
- Calcium channel-blockers:Verapamil may be prescribed. This class of drugs is typically used for high blood pressure and other cardiac issues.
- Calcitonin gene-related peptides : A newer class for migraine prevention, drugs of this type include Vyepti and Ajovy .
Another option for difficult, chronic migraines are Botox injections. Using a toxin made by the botulinum bacteria to essentially numb pain messaging, shots are delivered to specific areas on your forehead, sides, back of the head, and/or neck. The effects, however, only last about three months, so multiple appointments are necessary.
When migraines are known to be associated with the menstrual cycle, hormone therapy may be attempted.
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Treating Headaches Caused By Medications
Headaches and other medication side effects may eventually taper off if you stay on the medication. They should also clear up if you stop taking the drug in question.
However, don’t stop taking a prescription medication without the advice of a healthcare professional. Doing so can cause side effects, as well as complications related to your condition going untreated. Your provider can work with you to find a different treatment or a dosage of your current treatment that works better for you.
Also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what pain medications you can safely use to ease your headaches given other drugs you are taking.
How Sleep Apnea Causes Morning Headaches
People who experience frequent headaches are more likely to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder than those who do not. And sleep loss associated with most sleep disorders has the potential to cause headaches. But headaches that occur in the morning are especially common with sleep apnea.
A sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, sleep apnea can cause snoring, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
In obstructive sleep apnea , the most common form of sleep apnea, the throat muscles relax intermittently and block the airway during sleep, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood and the brain. When oxygen levels drop, the correlating increase in carbon dioxide causes the blood vessels in the brain to dilate. The pain caused by that dilation is usually experienced as a morning headache.
Doctors treating OSA may recommend lifestyle changes to help you lose weight or quit smoking. In more severe cases, patients may use a continuous positive airway pressure machine to help them breathe more and snore less.
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Prevention And Treatment Of Sinus Headaches
The best way to prevent a sinus headache is to avoid a sinus infection. The CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, getting a flu shot, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, not smoking, and using a clean humidifier to moisten the air.
By humidifying the air, you can decrease sinus pressure, which should translate into decreased incidence of headaches, says Kiran Rajneesh, MBBS, a neurologist and pain medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Dr. Rajneesh also suggests drinking a lot of water. Hydrating is important because it can help keep the mucus thin and loose, which can decrease infection and irritation, he says.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve a sinus headache. A nasal spray either a decongestant or a steroid spray may help as well, according to Michigan Medicine. Keep in mind that overuse of nasal sprays can further irritate the sinuses, leading to what is known as rebound congestion.
If you have a history of high blood pressure or heart problems, talk to your doctor before using oral decongestants .
A neti pot, which looks like a little teapot with a long spout, may be used to flush out nasal passages to improve congested sinuses, says Rajneesh.
There are times when you should seek medical help for possible sinus infection. According to the CDC, you should see a doctor if any of the following is true: