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When to Go to the ER for a Headache

A headache is a fairly common complaint and can many times be relieved with time, fluids, and rest. You can also take pain-relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) to relieve stronger symptoms.

Some headache symptoms may be more severe and require medical attention. If you are concerned about your headache, you may need to visit the emergency room or consult your primary care physician.

Consult your physician or visit then ER for a headache:

  • If you can describe your headache as the absolute worst one that you have ever experienced
  • If your headache is accompanied by vomiting
  • If the headache came on suddenly and without warning
  • If you have changes in your speech, vision, or sense of balance accompanying a headache
  • If you experience a headache after hitting your head from a fall, car accident, or other trauma

If you need to go to the emergency room, call 911 immediately. Ascension Crittenton Hospital’s Emergency department is a no-wait ER, which means you won’t wait in a lobby. Ascension Crittenton’s Emergency department is also accredited as both a Primary Stroke and Chest Pain Center. You want the right team there for you when you are in an emergency. If your migraine pain matches any of the symptoms above, you should seek medical attention immediately.


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