Knowing When Headaches Require Medical Attention

Most people experience a headache at some point in their lives, and the vast majority of these headaches are minor and can be treated at home with rest and over-the-counter medications. In some cases, however, headaches can be an indicator of a more serious condition that requires emergency care. Here is what you need to know about when to seek medical care when a headache strikes .

It’s the worst headache you have ever had.
Sudden and intense headaches can indicate a serious medical condition, like a stroke or aneurysm, which require lifesaving emergency care. People who get headaches that indicate these serious conditions usually characterize them as the worst headaches they have ever had and very different from other types of headaches they have experienced. Sudden, severe headaches should be evaluated in the ER so that stroke care or another appropriate treatment can be provided quickly.

It occurs with speech, vision, or behavioral changes.
As Regional Medical Center of San Jose neurologist Dr. Raul Guisado explains in this video , having a stroke doesn’t make you more prone to later headaches. However, headaches can be indicators of a stroke, especially when they are accompanied by other stroke symptoms, like slurred speech, vision difficulties, and confusion. Because fast stroke care is so essential to stop the loss of brain tissue, these types of headaches should be evaluated in the ER.

The pain is getting worse and interfering with your activities.
Headache pain that continues to get worse and that prevents you from doing your normal activities could require emergency care. You may be suffering from a severe migraine or cluster headache that could benefit from prescription strength oral pain medication, medication injections, lidocaine, or inhaling highly concentrated oxygen.

The Regional Medical Center of San Jose provides emergency care 24 hours a day, 365 days per year for all of your urgent medical needs, from intense headaches to chest pain. Learn more about all of our hospital services today by calling (888) 762-8881.

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