Sudden headache onset
June 14, 2009 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I am an old guy who has lived a healthy life: Don't smoke, exercise daily, eat right, happily and serenely married. Take medications for blood pressure and cholesterol, pretty deaf, even with hearing aids. No changes in years. Haven't really had a headache in about 25 years. A couple of months ago, I started waking up with a mild frontal lobe headache which would generally last all day, every day. Varying intensity. My lifestyle hasn't changed in years and I'm looking for a way to solve this problem.
posted by psc1860 to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And what did your doctor say?
posted by GleepGlop at 6:29 PM on June 14, 2009 [6 favorites]

GleepGlop has it. Headaches are caused by a multitude of things. Your doctor is in the best position to work through the process of elimination required.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:33 PM on June 14, 2009

You definitely should see a doctor. No doubt whatever about it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:34 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Fourth-ing the doctor. In the meantime- drink enough water the night before or when you wake up during the night that you aren't thirsty enough in the morning to need a drink. Even very mild dehydration can cause a mild headache that sticks around all day even after rehydration. Also, think about anything in your everyday life that has changed- air quality, etc.
posted by variella at 6:41 PM on June 14, 2009

Definitely see a doctor. It could be anything from allergies to a brain tumor, and there's no way for us to know what's going on.
posted by decathecting at 7:03 PM on June 14, 2009

See a doctor, yeah. But, when is the last time you updated your eyeglass prescription?
posted by jabberjaw at 7:04 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Agree--you should come see me. It's probably nothing serious, but a CT or MRI would be a good idea. I would also consider sleep apnea and if your Epworth Sleepiness Scale result is above 10 I'll refer you for a sleep study.
posted by neuron at 7:32 PM on June 14, 2009

I am not a doctor, but my first try before seeing a doctor (personally; this is NOT advice) would be to assume a sinus problem. Therefore, I would try a decongestant/antihistamine combo, and do a stream inhale/sauna/long hot bath/similar for a couple days, combined with LOTS of fluid and some rest. If that didnt work after 3ish days, I would make a doctors appointment, and be sure to tell the doctor the date of onset, any lifestyle/eating changes (increased salt could mess with blood pressure causing headaches?) and the home remedies I'd tried.

Personally, I am not recommending against your seeing a doctor immediately, but my inclination would be to assume I had a chronic sinus infection.(*)

(*) I have had a chronic sinus inflammation shown by cat scans and diagnosed by my doc since at least 2001. I wake up almost every day with a horrid headache that lasts until I down several hundred mgs of caffeine and take a long, hot shower.

Hope you feel better soon!~
posted by bunnycup at 7:50 PM on June 14, 2009

Nthing the doctor recommendation but also wanted to share something I recently learned. Within the last year, I started waking up with headaches on the left side, kind of behind my eye. MRI was normal for head stuff but revealed that I have a herniated cervical disc - something that happens to just about everybody as we age, but doesn't always cause problems. At any rate, herniated discs in the neck can trigger morning headaches if you've been sleeping in a position that sets it off.
posted by chez shoes at 8:30 PM on June 14, 2009

My mom has the same problem. She has seen a neurologist, and gone through several MRIs. That would probably be your first step. Unfortunately, she hasn't found a solution to her headaches ... but it has been good to rule out any serious abnormalities.
posted by Ostara at 8:50 PM on June 14, 2009

After you've seen the doctor, and had various scans - and IF they tell you there's nothing they can do, take a look at my first ever AskMe, and I'll advise that other than getting slightly worse since then, there has been no change to my daily, day long headache. I hope for your sake that there is something treatable behind your pain.
posted by birdsquared at 9:20 PM on June 14, 2009

First, a no brainer, go see a doctor. But anecdotally, and perhaps too simplisticly--in my non-doctor experience I've noticed that the vast majority of headaches are caused from dehydration. People are often dehydrated because they think it's synonymous with being thirsty. Not necessarily so. Make sure you're drinking a boatload (frankly I have no idea how much...let's just say a LOT) everyday. For the past few years I'll simply drink two big glasses of water instead of painkiller and it does the trick for me.
posted by zardoz at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2009

So, obviously, from the answers above, you can tell that there's a plethora of possible explanations, and you should go to a doctor. But, two more diagnoses to consider:
- Have you been grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while sleep? (Your wife will probably be able to let you know - teeth grinding makes a pretty unpleasant noise.)
- Uh...brain tumor
posted by Kololo at 10:43 PM on June 14, 2009

I had chronic daily headaches in high school. Several months of tests finally revealed Lyme disease. This could really be anything--please go to a doctor!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:29 AM on June 15, 2009

C02 poisoning?
posted by canoehead at 7:34 PM on June 15, 2009


But also, try improving the airflow to your bedroom. I wake up with a headache if I sleep with the window shut.
posted by kjs4 at 10:25 PM on June 15, 2009

CO (carbon monoxide) that is. (chemistry was not my strong subject)
posted by canoehead at 4:12 PM on June 16, 2009

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