A Typical Headache or Something Worse?

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What Causes A Headache When I’m Bending Over?

written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.

June 29, 2022 Read Time - 5 minutes

Can a Headache When Bending Over Be a Sign of a More Serious Condition?

People get headaches from time to time, but when is it serious? Headache pain can vary from mild to severe and has a variety of causes. Some headache pain is felt because of increased pressure in the skull. An increase in pressure can cause mild to severe headaches. Laying completely flat decreases pressure while bending over increases pressure. The higher the pressure, the more pain you may feel.

Different headaches can cause pain when bending over. Most headaches, about 90%, do not have an identifiable cause, while rare causes of severe headaches like brain tumors or severe circulation problems account for a very small number.



Types of Headaches

Headaches are placed into several categories. The most common types of headaches include:

  • Tension headache
  • Migraine headache
  • Sinus headache
  • Hormone headache
  • Caffeine headache
  • Positional headache
  • Cough or exertional headache

Generally speaking, migraines are the most severe type of headache because they cause severe pain and are often chronic. Headache pain is a common symptom of many different problems. For example, you can have a headache if you are dehydrated, stressed, have a sinus infection, or slept wrong on your neck. You can also have a headache when you are sick, on your menstrual cycle, from caffeine withdrawal or coughing spells.

If you have sinus issues and bend over, it can trigger you to feel a headache because of the increased pressure and fluid that is inside of your sinus cavities. If you bend over with a sinus infection, you will feel headache pain.

What Causes a Headache When Bending Over? 

Sinus infections, high blood pressure, or dehydration can cause headaches while bending over. Often these types of headaches will give you relief when you sit up or lay flat. Pain increases when your head drops below your hips or if you bend over too fast. This type of headache is usually caused by high blood pressure, sinus infection, or dehydration. Migraine, tension, hormone, and caffeine headaches will be painful in any position. 

Positional and sinus headaches are the most common types of headaches when bending over. Positional headaches caused by high blood pressure are worse when you bend over because the vessels in your brain are being pushed to the maximum pressure tolerance. It is important to check your blood pressure if you begin to have headaches. Sinus headaches are caused by sinus infections, increased mucus in your sinus cavities, increased nasal swelling, nasal drainage, or bacteria. If you have a sinus infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear it up.

Symptoms of Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches occur when you have a sinus infection, nasal drainage, or sinus pressure. Your sinus cavity is located in your skull, so any increased pressure in this area will cause headache pain. What are the symptoms of a headache while bending over? You may feel the following symptoms when bending over:

  • Increased facial pressure
  • Pain in the face and head
  • Throbbing (pulse) in the head or face
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme pressure in the head so much it feels like it may explode

How Can a Headache When Bending Over Be Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine which type of headache you are experiencing. First, you will discuss your medical history with your doctor and if there are any circulatory issues in your family. Sometimes, headaches can be caused by a circulation problem, which is more serious. Migraines often run in families, as well as high blood pressure.

Other questions your doctor may ask are how often you get headaches, how long your headaches last, what are your symptoms, and whether certain things or activities trigger your headaches. Your doctor may ask questions about how often you drink liquids and the color of your urine. Darker urine can mean that you are dehydrated. Your doctor may also ask if you have been sick in the last 24 to 48 hours because illness can cause headache pain. This information will allow your doctor to diagnose the cause of your headaches. Other tests your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Blood work (specifically a chemistry panel to check electrolytes and kidney function)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan)
  • Blood pressure measurement

If you have a sudden, severe headache your doctor may prescribe an MRI which takes a detailed picture of your brain and skull. Most headache causes can be diagnosed by discussing your symptoms with your doctor. Most likely, your headache is caused by something simple like a sinus infection, dehydration, or high blood pressure.

Treatment for a Headache When Bending Over

Depending on the cause, treatment is available online for all types of headaches. Headache treatment includes prescription medications, relaxation techniques, and stress reduction. Prescription medications can be used to treat headaches, especially if your headaches are caused by a sinus infection or high blood pressure. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat sinus infections and blood pressure medications are prescribed to lower blood pressure.

Talk to a Doctor About Headaches

If you have been experiencing headaches several times a week or month, schedule an appointment with one of our top rated online doctors. It is important to talk to your doctor about headaches especially if your headaches have gotten worse over time. Your doctor can determine the cause of your headaches and provide appropriate treatment.

Make an appointment today to speak with one of our trusted, board-certified doctors about headache treatment online. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, come up with an individualized treatment plan and discuss your treatment goals.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

 National Headache Foundation. (2022). The complete headache chart. Accessed on June 21, 2022 from https://headaches.org/resources/the-complete-headache-chart/

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