Nearly everyone experiences a headache on occasion, but how do you know when your headache is actually a medical emergency ? There are times when you should seek emergency care for a headache instead of simply trying to treat it at home. Consider going to the ER if you experience any of these symptoms.
Your Headache Started Suddenly
Most headaches start slowly and gradually increase in pain. However, if you have a sudden headache that comes on intensely with no warning, consider seeking emergency care. This is especially true if you are over the age of 50. A sudden headache can be a warning sign of an aneurysm or stroke, and early intervention is critical for treating these conditions. For a sudden headache, don’t try to wait out your symptoms at home to see if they improve. Emergency care can rule out any serious causes of your headache or provide crucial treatment if needed.
You Have New Symptoms
If headaches are normal for you, even severe headaches like migraines, then you may not be concerned when one develops. However, if you experience new symptoms along with your headache, it could be time to consider emergency care. Be alert to changes like balance issues, speech problems, and impaired vision, which could indicate that your headache is actually a stroke. Fast stroke care saves lives and prevents loss of brain tissue, so act quickly if your symptoms don’t seem like a typical headache.
You Have a Stiff Neck
Neck stiffness along with a headache, with or without a fever, can be the sign of a serious spinal infection called meningitis. Although some forms of meningitis go away on their own, others, like bacterial meningitis, can be life-threatening if treatment is not started early. Doctors in the ER can diagnose and begin urgent treatment for meningitis, if necessary.
The ER at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas is available around the clock to diagnose and treat a range of urgent medical conditions. Learn more about our high standard of ER care by calling (702) 880-2700.