What Kind of Headache is a Medical Emergency?

Headache is one of the most common reasons for an emergency room visit. It can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from mild to severe. Cluster headaches, migraines, tension headaches, sinus headaches, and headaches caused by viral illnesses are some of the most common types. In some cases, headache is a symptom of another medical problem and can be a sign of a medical emergency.

Triptans are a class of medications that are often used to control migraines. These drugs work through antagonism of serotonin receptors in the brain and are known as abortifacient medications because they can stop progression to a complete migraine when taken at the first sign of onset. Even non-severe headaches can be a reason to go to the emergency room if they are accompanied by other symptoms such as flu-like symptoms or signs of stroke. Severe headaches can be signs of stress or emotional distress, or they can be the result of a medical disorder and should be taken seriously.

If you experience severe headache, go to the nearest emergency room. If you have flu-like symptoms, you may also need to be screened for COVID-19. A severe headache is a throbbing, dull, or throbbing pain that occurs anywhere in the head and may last from one hour to several days. Migraine headaches are pulsating, throbbing headaches that can last for a few hours or several days and can be controlled with preventive measures and medications. Thunder headaches are an extremely severe type of headache that appears quickly and reaches its maximum intensity in less than a minute.

Secondary headaches are the result of an intracranial process that causes the development of headache. People who have frequent migraines are at risk of triggering a headache due to caffeine consumption. If you have been diagnosed with migraines or similar severe headache disorders, go to the emergency room if your headache feels different than usual or if your normal treatments don't relieve you. If a doctor determines that your headache is not caused by another condition, you can discuss a treatment plan for possible thunder headaches in the future.

When a tension headache becomes chronic, a different course of action may be suggested to address the underlying trigger of the headache.

Debora Lehneis
Debora Lehneis

Award-winning food advocate. Subtly charming bacon practitioner. Alcohol enthusiast. Proud travel aficionado. Incurable twitter scholar.

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