When To See A Doctor And What Theyll Ask You
Start by making a long appointment to see a GP to discuss your headache and nothing else. Give it the time and attention it deserves.
Its helpful to take a record of your headaches for your doctors appointment: a headache diary.
The most important tool doctors have to diagnose headaches is your history. You may feel they are asking a lot of questions, but thats because there are so many possible causes. Bear with your GP as they try to get you the most accurate diagnosis.
Here are the kinds of questions a doctor may ask, or be asking themselves while they assess you:
Is the pain caused by something straightforward?
Possible common causes include dehydration, eye/neck strain, teeth grinding, lack of sleep or caffeine withdrawal. Even taking regular painkillers can cause medication overuse headaches the cure can become the cause.
Where in your head is the pain?
Sometimes the location of the pain gives a clue. For example, about 35% of headaches are tension headaches, which feel like a tight band around both sides of your head. Another 4% are cluster headaches, which start behind one eye and are often associated with a stuffy nose.
Do you have any other symptoms accompanying the headache?
A migraine episode may be preceded by an aura , and often includes symptoms like nausea or vomiting, extreme sensitivity to noise and light, and blurred vision.
Is there a pattern to your headaches?
Do you have any other medical conditions?
What Are The Side Effects Of Er Migraine Treatment
The side effects of these migraine treatments are minor and temporary. The most common side effect is drowsiness, so you wont be able to drive right away.
Each type of medicine has individual side effects as well. Some of these side effects are:
- Neuroleptics/antiemetics. Restlessness in the legs or body is common. Very rarely, these medications can cause tics and tremors.
- Sumatriptan. There may be pain or swelling at the site of the injection. Other side effects include redness in the face and neck, a burning feeling, feelings of tightness all over the body, and drowsiness.
- NSAIDs. There are no typical side effects to these medications.
- Opioids. Tiredness and drowsiness are common.
- Dihydroergotamine. Similar to sumatriptan, there can be pain and swelling at the injection site. Drowsiness, stomach problems, and irregular heartbeat are also common.
- Dexamethasone. Research has not found any definite side effects. However, possible side effects are nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping
What Can You Expect After The Er
Pain treatments for severe migraine that you get at the ER may not be long-lasting. You may still have some head pain that lingers. Once you go home, get complete rest for a day or two. This may help you prevent another painful attack.
When youâre back on your feet, make an appointment with your regular doctor or neurologist. They can help you create a plan to prevent severe migraines. They may prescribe a rescue drug you can take when you feel an attack coming on.
Your doctor will also go over your migraine triggers, so you can try to limit or avoid them to prevent headaches.
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Signs Of A Medical Emergency Accompanied By A Migraine
Typically, you should work with your primary care doctor or a migraine specialist to figure out a rescue or preventative plan when it comes to managing your migraines.
But there are some red flags that migraine sufferers should watch out for that warrant immediate emergency care. These red flags include:
Severe Migraine Treatment In The Er
If you are having a migraine and not some other medical emergency, your doctor will treat it with pain medications. An ER doctor will usually only offer mild pain killers or treat you for dehydration.
There are many medications that work together to relieve migraine pain. ER doctors and nurses administer these medicines intravenously, through the arm. Some of these medicines are:
- Neuroleptics/antiemetics. These are medications that change the way chemicals act in your brain. They treat nausea and vomiting.
- Sumatriptan. This is a headache medication that narrows the blood vessels in the brain. People with heart problems should not take this medicine.
- NSAIDs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain. These are usually over-the-counter. You can take them by mouth.
- Opioids. Opioids relieve pain as well. But you should use these medications sparingly. They have serious side effects and can be addictive.
- Dihydroergotamine. Like sumatriptan, this headache medication narrows the blood vessels in the brain.
Aside from medications that relieve, there are also medications that prevent your migraine from coming back.
The most thoroughly researched of these medications is dexamethasone, which treats swelling and inflammation. Doctors can give dexamethasone along with a pain reliever stop a migraine from returning.
There is not enough research into how well other medications work to stop a migraine from coming back.
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Migraine Headaches When To Visit The Er
A migraine causes severe headaches in the form of throbbing pain or pulsing sensations. It can also cause nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours or days at a time. Medication does help make the migraine less painful and might help prevent migraines too. The right combination of medicines, lifestyle changes and certain self-help remedies can help with migraines.
There are 4 stages of a migraine prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone goes through all of these stages. A headache is one of the most common reasons for heading to the ER. Sometimes, it is possibly a migraine headache that does not go away with treatment and often, it is a symptom of some other medical condition.
Should I Go To The Emergency Room For My Headache Or Migraine
If you have experienced headaches or migraines in the past, then you are well aware of how crippling they can be. At times, migraine sufferers are left with nothing to do except lay in bed and try not to feel miserable. But do these ever merit an emergency room visit?
Well, there are some times when you may need to visit urgent care or receive emergency services for your head pain. Learn more about these instances below, then depend on our crew to help you out if you are in an emergency situation. Legacy is here for you every step of the way.
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Symptoms Are Abnormal Or Unusual
If you get frequent migraines, then you know what to expect in terms of symptoms. That being said, sometimes people experience things out of the norm, in which case the ailment may be more severe than a standard headache or migraine.
What signs should you look out for? Keep these symptoms in mind: any type of vision loss, numbness, excessive vomiting, weakness, dizziness or loss of balance, confusion, trouble speaking, or anything similar that seems extreme or unusual. In these cases, an emergency room visit is definitely warranted.
For Most Headaches Dont Go To Hospital
Thankfully, most headaches are less serious, and can be managed without a hospital trip. But they can still take a serious toll.
As you read this, 15% of Australians are taking painkillers for a headache.
But just because you dont need to race to hospital doesnt mean you shouldnt get help, especially if youre experiencing regular headaches.
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Reasons To Go To The Emergency Room For Headaches
Headaches are very common and we have all suffered from them at one point in life. Although they are not normal, they are an indication that our bodies are reacting to the physical and emotional changes around us. You however should be alarmed when the headache persists or is accompanied by some symptoms.
Some headaches are mild and relatively harmless while others are indicative of either a serious injury or a medical condition that needs immediate addressing. Here at Frontline Emergency Room, we receive patients suffering from both mild and serious headaches and their symptoms are not worlds apart.
Since its hard to tell when a headache is indicative of a benign condition and when its a signal of a serious complication, the safest bet is to always try and report any persistent headache to the nearest emergency room. Here are 10 reasons to go to the emergency room for headaches
10 Reasons to go to the emergency room for headaches
Report any headache accompanied by vomiting
Its not normal for a headache to be accompanied by vomiting. If your headache is accompanied by headaches and a feeling of nausea, you should definitely report the same to the nearest emergency room. Nausea and vomiting is caused by the closing of the pyloric sphincter to low digestion. The stomach dilates and any leftovers stay in the stomach and they cause the severe nausea and vomiting when we have headaches.
Report if the headache is accompanied by loss of vision
When To Go To An Emergency Room For Headaches
When to go to an emergency room for headaches
Headaches are unwanted visitor we get every now and again. We experience different types of headaches. Some hit us so hard while others just fade after some few minutes but one thing they all have in common is the fact that they cause us a lot of pain. Headaches are caused by very many reasons. Normally when you have a headache, it is an indication that there is a health problem within your system.
Primary headaches are stand-alone illnesses caused directly by the over-activity of, or problems with, structures in the head that are pain-sensitive. This includes the blood vessels, muscles and nerves of the head and neck. Secondary headaches on the other hand are a signal of another problem in the system. They are caused by another problem which stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves in the head.
Some headaches hit you so hard that you just cant bear with the pain. If you are experiencing one of these headaches which hits you with too much intensity and persists for more than 15 minutes, you need to visit the emergency room as soon as possible. Such a painful headache might be an indication of a tragedy waiting to happen and you better rush to the emergency room to get the situation sorted before it is too late. Such headaches could point towards stroke or even dangerous migraines.
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What If I Require Tests
Many urgent care facilities offer a wide range of diagnostic services, such as digital X-rays, laboratory testing , and electrocardiography .
If the emergency medicine physician deems that you require specialized care or further investigation, they can help to coordinate your care with a neurologist or pain management specialist, who can devise a treatment plan that can mitigate your migraine attacks.
Should I Go To The Emergency Room With A Headache
Headaches are always a nuisance, but it could be your headache is indicating theres something else wrong. The question is when I have a headache, should I go to the emergency room to check it out? Headaches involve head pains that are usually characterized as throbbing, constant, unrelenting, or intermittent. In some cases, such as with migraine headaches, there is associated with nausea and vomiting. Often headaches can be treated with aspirin or ibuprofen and are short-lived. On the other hand, other types of headaches can be severe and debilitating. Still, others indicate there is a serious underlying cause that should be treated immediately by medical staff.
Headaches are one of the most common ailments. According to a survey conducted by the CDC, in 2015, as many as 20% of women and 10% of men suffered a severe headache during the preceding 3-month period. Because headaches are so common, they are often ignored. Nevertheless, headaches can represent symptoms of much more serious conditions. Below are a few common headache types, some serious, along with their associated causes or characteristics. If you have a headache, never attempt to self-diagnose. Instead, go to an emergency room for proper medical attention.
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Your Migraine May Be A Symptom Of Another Condition
Going to the ER for a particularly debilitating migraine can also help determine whether your migraine attack is the main health concern or if it is a sign of something else. Seeking medical attention at the ER allows you to get proper testing and treatment no matter what your health issue is.
Have you recently experienced any trauma to the head? Your migraine could be due to a concussion. After a vehicle, sport, or work accident, you may want to get checked for non-visible injuries, especially if they involved trauma to the head, neck, or spine. This helps minimize the risk of complications for the brain and other parts of the body.
ER professionals can also figure out whether your symptoms are due to a migraine or a stroke, as both can share similar signs including headache, numbness, and loss of vision.
If you are pregnant and are experiencing a severe or abnormal migraine, this can indicate preeclampsia or other dangerous complications that can impact your babys health. Getting immediate medical care and a timely treatment can keep you and your baby safe.
Reasons To Seek Emergency Help
Getting emergency medical help may be a good option if youre experiencing new and unusual symptoms. Another reason is if your headache doesnt respond to or worsens with your regular treatment.
Most times, people who decide to go to the ER experience a new level of pain thats more severe than a previous migraine.
Seek immediate medical attention if your migraine is accompanied by the following:
- sudden onset headache or a sudden change in baseline headache
- confusion or changes in awareness
A migraine headache that comes on within seconds, particularly if youre , is a sign that you need to get emergency medical help.
Sometimes, headache and associated symptoms could indicate a more serious underlying medical emergency, such as a stroke.
If you have a history of stroke, heart disease, or diseases of the liver or kidneys, consider taking extra precautions. A new or changing headache could indicate a life threatening emergency.
Migraine with aura may increase your risk for stroke in the future. This type of migraine includes vision changes or neurological symptoms that usually occur before the actual headache.
If you have regular migraine with aura, talk to your doctor about emergency medical symptoms to watch for.
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What Causes Migraines
While the mechanisms behind this disease are still unknown, there is some consensus on what causes migraines.
Migraines have been linked to changes in blood flow to the brain, as well as an imbalance of chemicals like serotonin and glutamate. These changes happen when you experience something called a migraine trigger. Triggers vary from person to person, but common ones include:
- A migraine attack is usually triggered by environmental factors like these, along with genetics and other health issues like cluster headaches or epilepsy.
Er Average Wait Times
ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine , Doctor of Osteopathy , Physician Assistant or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner .
ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.
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When To Get Emergency Care
Headaches are a common reason for people to seek emergency care, but itâs not always needed. Most people who go to the ER for migraine pain are just having a migraine attack, not a medical emergency.
There are some times, however, when it may make sense to go to the ER:
Your symptoms are worse than usual: Migraine symptoms that are new or seem more serious than normal can be signs that you need medical care right away. These symptoms may signal a life-threatening emergency, such as:
- A brain infection called meningitis
- An aneurysm, a bulging blood vessel in your brain that could burst and cause a type of stroke
Your symptoms come on faster than usual: Usually, migraine attacks gradually worsen over hours. You may notice changes in how you feel for days before the headache starts. But, if you have sudden, serious head pain, go to the ER. This is called a âthunderclapâ headache, because youâre hit with a jolt of severe pain out of nowhere. It could be a sign of a stroke, not a migraine.
You have an âintractableâ migraine: These severe migraines last for more than 72 hours and donât get better with medications you take when a migraine starts, such as triptans. Seek care at an ER or urgent care clinic for these painful attacks, which are also called status migrainosus.
Also go to the ER right away if you or a loved one have a new or severe headache with any of the following:
Sudden And Severe Headaches
Most headaches come on gradually, and if youre paying attention to your body, you can stop the headache from getting worse. Serious headaches come on quickly and are extremely intense.
If you would describe your headache as the worst headache of your life, you should go to an emergency room. It could be a sign of a life threatening condition.
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