Read below about mild headache, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your mild headache from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Mild Headache Symptoms

A headache is defined as pain in any region of the headand can take on multiple qualities including:

  • Mild to severe in nature
  • Sharp or dull
  • Throbbing or squeezing
  • Localized or spread out
  • Sudden or gradual
  • Unilateral (one side of the head) or bilateral (both sides of the head)
  • Brief or persistent

Within this spectrum of symptoms, mild headaches often occupy the lesser end of the scale. ### For example, mild headaches are often: ###

  • Dull
  • Gradual
  • Brief, lasting minutes to hours.

Mild headaches may be the most benign on the spectrum of headache pain; however, that doesn't mean they should be ignored. It is important to take note of the type and quality of your headache symptoms in order to get proper care. If you experience mild headache symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor in order to discuss treatment options.

Mild Headache Causes

Headaches happen when there is increased activity or dysregulation of pain-sensitive structures in the head. Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. It is important to make this distinction because primary and secondary headaches have different causes. Getting the right diagnosis from your doctor is key in getting the proper treatment and care.

Primary headache:

A primary headache is a headache that is due to the headache condition itself and not due to another cause or underlying condition. Many times, these types of headaches are related to certain triggers.

  • Stress: Things in your life that are causing stress or lack of sleep can easily trigger mild headache symptoms.
  • Diet: Beverages such as caffeine and alcohol can trigger primary headaches. Moreover, dietary insufficiencies such as skipped meals or dehydration can also result in mild primary headache symptoms.

Secondary headache:

A secondary headache is a headache that is present because of another condition or underlying disease. Many conditions can cause mild headache symptoms.

  • Inflammatory: Infections and inflammation of any of the structures in the head (sinuses, ear, nose, etc.) can result in secondary mild headaches. These headaches are often mild because they resolve once the underlying infection or inflammatory condition is treated.
  • Post-traumatic: Falls, injury and other traumatic events that can result in concussions can also result in mild post-traumatic headaches. These headaches, sometimes called post-concussion syndrome, can last for weeks to months after the initial injury. These headaches may be associated with dizziness, loss of concentration or memory and irritability.
  • Medication-Induced: If you already have headaches and take headache medication too often, your pain can recur more often. When headache drugs backfire, the medical term is "rebound" or "medication-overuse" headache.

7 Possible Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced mild headache. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

  1. 1.Tension Headache (Previously Undiagnosed)

    Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache. It is pain or discomfort in the head and/or neck. It is often accompanied by muscle tightness in these areas. This condition can occur as little as once a year but as often as more than 15 days per month (chronic). The cause of tension-type headaches is not clear.

    Tension-type headache symptoms usually resolve within a few hours but can last up to a week. However, if this particular episode is unusually severe or debilitating, you may want to see a doctor urgently.

    Top Symptoms:
    history of headaches, nausea or vomiting, moderate headache, loss of appetite, mild headache
    Symptoms that always occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed):
    history of headaches
    Symptoms that never occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed):
    change in urine color, photo and phonophobia, throbbing headache, headache resulting from a head injury
  2. 2.Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear, and it connects the jaw to the side of the head. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition which can be caused by excess tension in jaw mucles, faulty alignment between upper and lower teeth, arthritis in the joint, or injury of the jaw or face.

    Outcome is highly case-dependent.

    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder:
    pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    Most recover within 1 week but cough and malaise can persist for 2 weeks.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Phone call or in-person visit

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  4. 4.Insomnia Disorder

    Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that prevents one from falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both.

    Condition is treatable with medication and behavior changes.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mild headache, insomnia
    Symptoms that always occur with insomnia disorder:
    trouble sleeping
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Common Cold

    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

    The common cold resolves within 7 to 10 days.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with common cold:
    being severely ill, severe muscle aches, rash, severe headache, sinus pain
  6. 6.Exertion Headache

    An exertion or activity-related headache occurs as a result of strenuous activity. This type of headache is often triggered by exercise.

    Within 1 day

    Top Symptoms:
    headache, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, headache with a pressing or tightening quality, headache near both temples
    Symptoms that always occur with exertion headache:
    Symptoms that never occur with exertion headache:
    vomiting, double vision, fever
  7. 7.Concussion Not Needing Imaging

    A traumatic brain injury (TBI), or concussion, happens when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain. Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer brain injuries. More than half are bad enough that people must go to the hospital, and the worst injuries can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

    Most patients with mild brain injury recover within hours to days.

    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    head or face injury
    Symptoms that never occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    recent fall from 6 feet or higher, severe vomiting, posttraumatic amnesia over 30 minutes, slurred speech, fainting, moderate vomiting
    Primary care doctor

Mild Headache Treatments, Relief and Prevention

Since mild primary headaches are often trigger-related, try these at-home remedies and lifestyle changes to combat your mild headache symptoms:

  • Decrease stress: Reducing stress is much easier said than done, but taking up activities such as yoga or meditation can give you a healthier foundation to deal with life's stressors.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Trading in beverages such as caffeine or alcohol for water can go a long way in helping to reduce mild primary headaches.

  • Get adequate sleep: A good night's rest is the brain's way of recovering each day in order to work well the next. Your brain can manifest its exhaustion and lack of recovery in the form of mild headaches.

However, if mild headache symptoms begin to disrupt your life, or you find that you need to take medication for your headaches more than twice a week, see your doctor.

This might be a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires professional attention.

  • In the case of medication-induced headaches, work with your doctor to find the right treatment. Your doctor may change your medication or reduce the current medications you take.
  • Anti-inflammatory: If your headaches are the result of inflammatory conditions, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to combat your mild headache symptoms.

If you experience an abrupt, severe headache or headache with a fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties, your headache is not considered "mild" and you must get medical attention immediately. These symptoms could be signs of serious conditions such as stroke or meningitis.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Mild Headache

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our mild headache symptom checker to find out more.

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Mild Headache Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced mild headache have also experienced:

    • 7% Nausea
    • 6% Fatigue
    • 2% Bloody Vaginal Discharge
  • People who have experienced mild headache had symptoms persist for:

    • 53% Less Than a Day
    • 28% Less Than a Week
    • 7% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced mild headache were most often matched with:

    • 50% Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder
    • 33% Influenza
    • 16% Tension Headache (Previously Undiagnosed)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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