Headache is one of the most common health complaints. Headaches may appear gradually or suddenly, and they may last less than an hour or for several days.
Most headaches aren’t the result of a serious illness, but some may result from a life-threatening condition requiring emergency care.
Warning Signs Your Headache Could Be Dangerous
When to Call the Doctor
See your health care provider right away or call 911 when you have any of the following:
1. This is the first headache you have ever had in your life and it interferes with your daily activities.
2. If it doesn’t go away and gets worse over time.
3. If It comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent.
4. It’s triggered suddenly by coughing, laughing, sneezing, changes in posture, or physical exertion.
5. If your headache accompanies a fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking, or memory loss with your headache.
6. You develop a headache right after activities such as weightlifting, aerobics, jogging, or sex.
7. Your headache as “the worst ever,” even if you regularly get headaches.
8. Your headache gets worse over 24 hours.
9. It occurs with a head injury.
10. You have headache along with vision problems and pain while chewing, or weight loss.
11. Your headache is severe and just in one eye, with redness in that eye.
12. You just started getting headaches, especially if your are older than 50.
13. You have a history of cancer and develop a new headache.
See your health care provider soon if:
14. A headache lasts more than a few days.
15. Your headache wake you up from sleep.
16. Headaches are worse in the morning.
17. You have a history of headaches but they have changed in pattern or intensity .
18. You have headaches often and there is no known cause.