What Types of Headaches Are Emergencies?

November 15, 2022

What Types of Headaches Are Emergencies?

Headaches can be tricky! They can come from something as simple as dehydration or something serious like a blood clot. When your head starts to pound, you may wonder what the underlying reason may be.

The good news is that the vast majority of headaches are minor inconveniences and can be fixed at home with some simple remedies.

However, it is still important to know what warning signs to look for when it comes to headaches! While rare, serious conditions can start as a simple headache so it is important to know what to look for. Our AFC Urgent Care Statesville team explains all about headache red flags below, so read on.

What Is Causing My Head to Hurt?

Most headaches fall into the category of a primary headache. A “primary headache” is caused by overactivity or disruption in the pain-sensitive nerves in your brain. When they are disrupted, you can experience migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches. While annoying, they don’t indicate a medical emergency.

The rarer, but much more serious, category of headaches are “secondary headaches.” These types of headaches can indicate an issue like a blood clot or impending stroke and are always medical emergencies. If you start to experience sudden or intense pain along with any of the below warning signs, come see us immediately.

Signs of a Dangerous Headache

  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Pain accompanied by fever or stiff neck
  • Headaches after an injury or accident
  • Vision changes
  • Numbness or paralysis on the body

Can I Treat a Secondary Headache at Home?

You should never just wait it out at home if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. In situations like a blood clot or stroke, the faster you can receive medical attention, the better. Quick action can save your life!

If you get migraines or tension headaches often and know what they feel like, you can stay home and treat them on your own. However it is important to understand that if your symptoms change or get worse, seeking medical help is always recommended.

Treatment Options for Primary Headaches

  • Drink water.
  • Get plenty of rest in a quiet, dark room.
  • Take an OTC pain reliever or anti-inflammatory.
  • Drink a small amount of caffeine.

Headaches are something to always take seriously. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, stop by AFC Urgent Care Statesville for a diagnosis.

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