When to Call the Doctor About Your Migraines or Headaches
Any kind of pain is your body's way of warning you about an
injury or illness. Although migraines and headaches are rarely the symptoms
of a serious illness, occasionally they may indicate a serious medical
condition such as a tumor or aneurysm (blood vessel rupture). It is important
for you to become familiar with your personal headache symptoms, and those that
require immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one has any of the following headache
symptoms seek medical care immediately:
Headache pain along with a stuffy, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Sounds like a sinus headache, right? Think again.
More than 4 out of 5 people who think they have a sinus headache with symptoms like pain in the head, stuffy nose, and watery eyes actually have migraine headaches.
"It's such a widespread misconception," says neurology professor Peter Goadsby, MD, who heads the University of California, San Francisco's headache program. "It's the size of the problem that stuns me."
A headache that is associated with neurological (nerve) symptoms such as
weakness, dizziness, sudden loss of
balance or falling, numbness or tingling, paralysis, speech difficulties,
mental confusion, seizures, personality changes/inappropriate behavior, or
vision changes (blurry vision, double vision, or blind spots)
Headache with a fever, shortness of breath, stiff neck, or rash
Headache pain that awakens you at night
Headaches with severe nausea and vomiting
Headaches that occur after a head injury or accident
Getting a new type of headache after age 55
The following migraine or headache symptoms do not require
urgent care, but you should contact your doctor if you, or your loved one, have
any of these symptoms.
Have three or more headaches per week
Have headaches that keep getting worse and won't go away
Need to take a pain reliever every day or almost every day for your
Need more than two to three doses of over-the-counter medications per week to relieve
Have headaches that are triggered by exertion, coughing, bending, or
Have a history of headaches, but have noticed a recent change in your