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Why Frequent Headaches Hurt

When Should You See a Physician?

Not all headaches require medical attention. Some result from missed meals or occasional muscle tension and are easily remedied. But some types of headache are signals of more serious disorders, and call for prompt medical care. These include:

  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Sudden, severe headache associated with a stiff neck
  • Headache associated with fever
  • Headache associated with convulsions
  • Headache accompanied by confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Headache following a blow on the head
  • Headache associated with pain in the eye or ear
  • Persistent headache in a person who was previously headache free
  • Recurring headache in children
  • Headache which interferes with normal life
  • Change in usual headache pattern

A headache sufferer usually seeks help from a primary care provider. If the problem is not relieved by standard treatments, the patient may then be referred to a neurologist. Additional referrals may be made to psychologists.

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WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

Reviewed by Lily Jung, MD on December 01, 2006

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