In evaluating your headache, your neurologist/headache specialist will look for any Red-flag features, diagnostic features for a pure headache disorder (Primary Headache – e.g. migraine, cluster headache), and do any appropriate investigations. Most people with headache don’t have anything pathological other than the headache. Neuroimaging for patients with this diagnosis is usually normal, which means no brain tumours, or bleeds, or brain malformations.
Tension headache is the most common headache disorder, followed by Migraine.
Medication overuse headache is a common and easily missed diagnosis. A person overusing paracetamol, opiates, or sometimes NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen etc) can quickly develop a headache which is partially relieved for a short time by taking more tablets.
Headaches to be concerned about are any with other neurological features beyond pain (eg visual changes, ), if they are new or changed, associated with personality changes or seizures, or features suggesting high pressure inside the skull (headache worse lying down, worse with cough/strain, visual obscuration, nausea/vomiting on wakening).
Headache can lead to many days of missed work, cancellation of social activity, inability to engage with family life, and feeling unable to live life normally. There are not often immediate solutions once a headache disorder is diagnosed, but getting on the right track early can get control faster, thus ensuring you get your life back sooner rather than later.
If you are getting headaches frequently, fill in a Headache Diary. Many are available as Apps or downloads, but for a doctor the best is a Month to View simple diary like the one I have attached here
Some other useful links include: