Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I wake up with headaches?"
I am a 31 year old customer service rep. For the last two weeks I have had headaches each morning when I wake up. I am currently taking Excedrin Extra Strength tablets to help with the pain in the morning. It does seem to help if I take an Excedrin before I go to bed each night, but not always. I'm not sure if it is the caffeine or the fact that I use a computer 12+ hours a day. Should I cut back on the amount of caffeine I consume?
There are many reasons for having headaches that only present in the morning. Things to consider with regards to headaches arising in the morning include whether you have any changes in your vision in the morning? Do you have a history of medical problems such as cancer, or a family history of any tumors? The answers to these questions, plus your medical history and clinical exam will help your primary care doctor decide upon the appropriate work up. This may include further lab tests and imaging studies, and possibly a referral to a specialist. As you discussed, there is the possibility that these headaches could be related to excess caffeine intake, which may result in withdrawal headaches in the morning. The headaches could also be caused by overuse of computers which may cause eye strain and headache. The reason that it is important to consider any history of cancer is that although unlikely, a history of headaches that present in the morning may be related to an underlying brain tumor, although again the likelihood is low. Again, the most important thing is to be evaluted by a primary care doctor who can best evaluate your medical history and presenting symptoms to decide upon that appropriate work up and possible treatment options.
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