Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why does my head hurt in a band across the top of my head?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy does my head hurt in a band across the top of my head?


I am a thirty two year old female, with a history of seasonal allergies. I am taking excedrin off and on to help treat the headaches, but it doesn't seem to help. My head has been hurting for several weeks off and on. It also seems to come on when it rains. Should I see a doctor or will it go away with time?


Headaches can be very difficult to both diagnose and treat effectively. There are several different types of headache syndromes, and a correct diagnosis is extremely important in leading further work-up and treatment options. The most common types of headaches tend to be tension-type headaches, which are often described as a "squeezing" or "pressure-like" sensation that tends to feel like a band across the head. These headaches are commonly attributed to stress, lack of sleep, medications, menstrual cycle, as well as several other causes. However, other causes of headache (such as migraine, for example), can appear to be very similar, which is why it is important that you establish care with a doctor. Subtle clues may exist in your history and physical exam that can help your doctor determine which type of headache syndrome is affecting you. He/she can ask you more detailed questions about the triggers for your headaches, associated symptoms such as nausea or visual changes, family history of headaches, what time of day your symptoms are worse, etc. Based upon these answers, your doctor should be able to treat you with a medication more specific to your type of headache and hopefully give you relief from your pain.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.