Alarmist scenario: A brain tumor.
More likely cause: A tension headache or a migraine.
Reality check: “Headaches alone don’t make me look for a brain tumor,” says neurologist MaryAnn Mays, a staff physician at the Headache Center at the Cleveland Clinic. A brain tumor would typically involve symptoms such as sudden muscle weakness, headaches that wake you from sleep, numbness, personality changes, lack of coordination, vomiting, and changes in vision, hearing, and speech.
Rx: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, usually relieve tension headaches and mild migraines. If your headaches persist for more than two weeks or if your migraines aren’t helped by over-the-counter NSAIDs, like Excedrin Migraine, see your doctor.