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Should I Go To The Doctor For A Migraine

What Will This Summary Cover

I have a headache. You should go and see a doctor. | English for Kids

This summary will cover:

  • Medicines to treat severe migraines in the ER
  • What researchers have found about how well the medicines work
  • Possible side effects of the medicines
  • Things to talk about with the ER doctor

Note: This summary does not cover what researchers found about treating migraines at home or ways to prevent migraines. It only covers what researchers found about treating migraines in the ER.

What Should I Do If A Headache Clinic Isnt Right For Me

If reading all this is making you realize that a headache clinic isnât the right choice for you, thatâs okay. There are other ways to get specialized treatment from doctors who truly understand migraine. With Cove, for example, you can also get a personalized treatment plan entirely online. Because itâs online, you avoid the high price tag, wait times, and travel distance that can come with in-office treatment.

To sum all this up, headache clinics are an underutilized migraine treatment option. Depending on the severity and frequency of your attacks, your location, and your financial situation, visiting a headache clinic could be an excellent way to receive in-person treatment from an expert.

That said, headache clinics certainly arenât the only way to get treatment from doctors who really understand migraine. If going to a clinic doesnât seem like the right fit for you, Cove can provide personalized, expert-backed migraine treatment entirely online. Get started with aconsultation today.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Can The Er Do Anything For A Migraine

The takeaway

If you experience a sudden onset headache with other serious symptoms, you need to go to the ER. The ER can provide medications to temporarily alleviate pain, but you will likely need a long-term treatment plan. Be sure to see your regular doctor as soon as you can to go over your treatment plan.

Also Check: Non Drowsy Headache Medicine

Also Check: Migraine Healthline

When Should I See My Doctor

If you get severe headaches but dont know whats causing them, or if the pattern of your headaches changes, it is important for you to consult a doctor. Even if you have previously consulted a doctor and been diagnosed with migraines, but your prescribed treatment has not been successful, it is worth going again. Migraines can be managed.

Reasons To Seek Emergency Help

Should I Go To Doctor For Migraine

Getting emergency medical help may be a good option if youre experiencing new and unusual symptoms. Another reason is if your headache doesnt respond to or worsens with your regular treatment.

Most times, people who decide to go to the ER experience a new level of pain thats more severe than a previous migraine.

Seek immediate medical attention if your migraine is accompanied by the following:

  • sudden onset headache or a sudden change in baseline headache
  • neck stiffness
  • confusion or changes in awareness

A migraine headache that comes on within seconds, particularly if youre , is a sign that you need to get emergency medical help.

Sometimes, headache and associated symptoms could indicate a more serious underlying medical emergency, such as a stroke.

If you have a history of stroke, heart disease, or diseases of the liver or kidneys, consider taking extra precautions. A new or changing headache could indicate a life threatening emergency.

Migraine with aura may increase your risk for stroke in the future. This type of migraine includes vision changes or neurological symptoms that usually occur before the actual headache.

If you have regular migraine with aura, talk to your doctor about emergency medical symptoms to watch for.

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How Long Is Too Long For A Migraine

How long is too long for a migraine? A typical migraine lasts between four and 72 hours. If a migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, it is paramount to consult with a doctor. Also, if a person experiences 15 or more headache days per month, a doctor may diagnose this individual with chronic migraines.

Are Your Headaches Severe Enough To Visit A Doctor

Headaches are a major public health issue. Everything from your daily caffeine intake to the amount of sleep you get can contribute to headaches. Dr. Tom Miller and nurse practitioner Susan Baggaley, M.S.N., discuss the differences between daily headaches and migraines and offer advice on when a headache is severe enough for a visit to the doctor. They also talk about treatment and recovery options for a throbbing headache.

May 8, 2020

Dr. Miller: When should you see a provider about headaches? I’m here with Susan Baggaley. She’s a Nurse Practitioner and this is her 20th year taking care of headaches this month. And Susan is also Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology. Welcome, Susan.

Susan Baggaley: Thank you.

Dr. Miller: I think a lot of folks have headaches and they treat them at home and with different remedies, but when would you suggest a patient might want to go to the doctor, to have their headache evaluated?

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When Should I Be Concerned About Visual Disturbances

If you experience a sudden change in your vision, such as an increase in the severity, length, or symptoms of your visual disturbances, you should see a doctor immediately. If your symptoms seem radically different, you should be especially concerned. Stroke symptoms can sometimes be confused with those of a migraine.

Wait Whats A Headache Clinic

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No need to feel bad if youâve never heard of headache clinicsâaccording to Dr. Mauskop, most people unfortunately donât know about them. Luckily, a headache clinic is exactly what it sounds like: a clinic that only sees headache patients. The main benefit of going to one is that youâre guaranteed to get treated by someone who understands what youâre going through.

You might be thinking, âIsnât that what a neurologist is for?â Actually, only âabout 40% of a general neurologist’s practice is devoted to headache patients,â Dr. Mauskop says. Neurologists also treat conditions like Alzheimerâs disease and stroke, and some neurologists specialize in disorders other than headache. That means going to a neurologist doesnât necessarily mean seeing a migraine expert.

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Migraines: Should You Go To An Urgent Care Or The Hospital Er

Migraine is a complex condition characterized by severe, episodic, and unilateral headaches , which are often accompanied by a host of other debilitating symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, muscle weakness, and blurry vision. Migraine episodes can last between four and seventy-two hours, hence making carrying out even simple day-to-day activities especially difficult.

If youre living with migraine and wondering where you should go in the event of a migraine attack and its already beyond your primary care physicians office hours, you have two options: an urgent care clinic and a hospital ER.

There are several differences between urgent care and emergency care facilities that are worth considering. These differences can help you determine which type of facility you should go to for your care.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Medicines Given In The Er To Treat Migraines

Researchers found that the side effects from these medicines are usually minor and temporary. Some of the medicines can cause drowsiness, so you may not be able to drive right away. More information is listed below for each type of medicine when it is taken a single time in the ER for a severe migraine.

  • Neuroleptics/Antiemetics: Restlessness in the legs or body is a common side effect. A possible serious side effect is uncontrollable muscle movements, such as tics and tremors.
  • Sumatriptan: The most common side effect is pain or swelling at the place where the shot was given. Other side effects can include redness in the face and neck, a burning feeling, feelings of tightness , and drowsiness.
  • NSAIDs: Side effects are not common with these medicines.
  • Opioids: Tiredness and drowsiness are common side effects.
  • Dihydroergotamine: The most common side effects include pain or swelling at the place where the shot was given or where the IV needle was put in, drowsiness, stomach problems, nausea and vomiting, and an irregular heartbeat.
  • Dexamethasone: Side effects were not common with this medicine in the research studies. But, possible side effects can include nausea, headache, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.

Note: There are other possible side effects of these medicines. The side effects listed here are the most common side effects when the medicines are taken a single time in the ER for a severe migraine.

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What Happens To Your Brain During A Migraine

But during a migraine, these stimuli feel like an all-out assault. The result: The brain produces an outsize reaction to the trigger, its electrical system firing on all cylinders. This electrical activity causes a change in blood flow to the brain, which in turn affects the brains nerves, causing pain.

Er Vs Quick Care Las Vegas

When Should I See A Doctor About Migraines
  • 67 percent of people at urgent cares wait less than an hour to be seen. Only 33 percent of people in ER waiting rooms were that lucky.
  • 13 percent more urgent care patients felt their medical provider was polite and respectful in comparison with ER patients.
  • Almost 60 percent of urgent care Las Vegas NV patients felt that their diagnosis was explained clearly. ER patients were more confused by 20 percent.
  • 53 percent of urgent care patients felt their treatment was effective. Only 36 percent of ER patients felt the same.
  • If the headache or migraine returned, 55 percent of urgent care patients said they were given clear instructions on how to handle it. Only 37 percent of ER patients received similar instructions.
  • 76 percent of thankful urgent care patients said they were placed in an area that was quite. about 60 percent of ER patients received the same gracious treatment.
  • When the visit was over, just shy of half of all quick care Las Vegas patients said they were given a plan to take care of themselves at home. Sadly, only 17 percent of ER patients were cared for in a similar way.
  • 50 percent of urgent care patients were happy with their visit, overall. Only 36 percent of emergency room patients felt satisfied with their care.
  • You can also help yourself by following these headache tips before you head in to get treatment or while you wait:

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    They Don’t Know Your History And You’re In No Shape To Give Clear Direction

    In the midst of an attack, few of us can complete a coherent sentence. The Migraine Babble and nurse triage questions don’t play well together.

    “They thought I was a druggie because my speech was confused, it was quite a busy night and they were attending ‘more critical’ cases first, road accidents victims and all! All I was given was a vomit bag and sleeping tablets! Woke up 5 hours later and decided to go home! Olè M.

    “The ‘LAST’ time I went to the ER for a migraine I was in SO much pain I couldn’t see, I was in excruciating pain, I went in the wheelchair backwards because I just wanted to be in a ball and literally couldn’t straighten myself out. The check in person who takes vitals before they bring you back made me turn around in the wheelchair so she could get my vitals. I told them I couldn’t and I was just screaming no no no. She told me she couldn’t help me if I couldn’t sit straight. So I turned around and two seconds later I passed out cracked my head open on the floor and was unconscious for I don’t know how long.” Skipper D.

    An Abnormal Migraine Attack

    Is my pain and any other symptoms new or extreme?

    Although a migraine attack often yields unpleasant and even debilitating symptoms, certain symptoms may be immediate signals that require emergency medical attention. Many doctors recommend visiting the ER for what you might describe as the worst headache of your life. How a patient defines that will vary and could be influenced by numerous factors such as new or dangerous symptoms, severity or duration of pain, abruptness of an attack, or ineffectiveness of medications, among others. Headache symptoms may not even be associated with migraine at all, but rather a more serious condition such as brain aneurysm or concussion. Symptoms to watch for include:

    • Confusion, memory loss, trouble speaking or slurred speech
    • Extreme dizziness
    • Loss of vision or other extreme changes in vision
    • Worsening pain that doesn’t respond to medication or normal relief techniques

    Always document your symptoms and keep written records of what is “normal” for your migraine attacks so that you can share them with your doctor. It is important to remember that symptoms often differ from one attack to the next and the presence of a new symptom or trigger does not necessarily indicate something more dangerous, but you still want to be mindful when there are abnormalities.

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    Alternatives To Going To The Er With A Migraine

    Given all the unpleasant and dramatic stories about ER treatment, you may be wondering: what’s the alternative? If it’s a scary attack with new complications, going to the ER with a Migraine is your safest bet. If it’s an intractable Migraine that won’t respond to treatment at home, you have a few options.

    If Your Frequent Headaches Affect Your Life Its Time To Seek Medical Advice

    The Migraine Guy – The ONE Thing You Should Do If You Go To The Emergency Room

    Almost everyone has suffered a headache at some point in their lives. The experience can range from it went away on its own to my head throbbed for 72 hours. But when is it time to see a doctor for your headaches?

    One way to start understanding your head pain is to learn about the different types of headaches.

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    Personal Stories About Migraine Medicines

    These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

    I had my first migraine when I started taking birth control pills. I saw wavy lines and had distorted vision at first, then I felt nauseous, and then developed a horrible, throbbing headache on one side of my head. I took some ibuprofen and laid down in a dark room. Even when the headache went away the next day, I felt achy all over and “fuzzy” in my head. I have had two migraines since I started taking the pill 3 months ago. I never had a migraine before that. My doctor recommended that I stop taking the pill and wait to see if my migraines stop too. I’m going to wait and see if that helps before I decide about taking medicine every day to prevent migraines.

    Shelby, age 24

    Helen, age 59

    I started getting migraines when I was a kid, although they didn’t occur very often. Recently, my migraine attacks are much more frequent, about two a month. I tried taking ibuprofen, but it didn’t help. The symptoms have been so bad that I had to go to the emergency room for a shot several times in the past few months. My doctor recommends that I start taking a preventive medicine every day to try to prevent the migraine attacks. He also recommends I have medicine close by to stop headaches that I might still get. Since I have missed so much work due to the migraines, I have decided to take preventive medicines to see if this helps.

    What Happens After My Appointment

    After your appointment, you might be prescribed medications or asked to make changes to your lifestyle to avoid triggers. Dr. Mauskopâs clinic most often recommends lifestyle changes, supplements, as well as acute and preventive medications.

    What happens long-term depends on how you found the clinic in the first place. If you received a referral from your primary doctor, theyâll receive a letter from the clinic that explains their recommendations. Whether you decide to switch to their plan or not, you donât have to return to the clinicâyou can instead just get your prescriptions written by your usual doctor.

    If you found the clinic on your own, youâll likely be asked to return on a regular basis until your headaches show some improvement. At Dr. Mauskopâs clinic, patients are asked to keep monthly appointments at first. Once their migraine get better, that frequency is reduced to every three months, then every six months.

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    When To Get Medical Advice

    You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

    Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.

    Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.

    You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

    You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:

    • paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
    • slurred or garbled speech
    • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
    • headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

    These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.


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