What Can I Do Now To Avoid Having To Go To The Emergency Room
You might think that thereâs not much you can do now to prevent a potential emergency situation, but youâre probably already doing many things that can save you an avoidable E.R. visit. If you have a migraine treatment plan that works for you, youâll usually be able to get an attack under control before it gets so bad you need to head to a hospital.
What does it take to figure out a migraine treatment plan that actually works? First, youâll need to find a doctor with experience treating headache disorders like migraine. âSpoiler alert,â Dr. Bain says. âNot all do.â
Then, youâll need to work with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for your needs. Dr. Bain recommends including a pain reliever , a migraine-specific medication like a triptan, and an anti-nausea medication, if needed.
Of course, the journey doesnât end there. To make sure your treatment plan is working, youâll want to track your attacks. You should also make sure to keep your medications on hand so youâll always be prepared for a migraine.
We know all that might sound a little overwhelming, and weâre here to help. Our online consultation was designed by migraine experts to help identify the right treatment plan for every suffererâs needs. Complete a consultation to get a personalized treatment plan recommendation from a licensed Cove doctor today.
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.
Going To The Emergency Department
Going to the emergency department is usually a difficult experience. This may be the worst place on earth for a person with migraine . Strong lights, noises, smells. Uncomfortable chairs. Long wait times. A migraine attack might not be a priority when people are there with broken bones and heart attacks. Still, it should be treated with empathy and appropriate care. Its not always the case.;
Severe attacks can force a person with migraine to go to the Emergency. Here are a few comments on this tough situation.;
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Severe Migraines Deserve An Er Visit
Go to the ER if you are experiencing severe migraine symptoms, or symptoms such as confusion, fever and vision changes, neck stiffness, trouble speaking or numbness or weakness, even if other symptoms of migraine are present . Always go to the ER if a headache begins suddenly and reaches maximum intensity within a minute or two. If you recognize your symptoms as those of a typical migraine attack, you may be better served to treat yourself at home, based on the treatment plan you and your headache specialist have drafted together. If you dont have a rescue plan, then speak with your physician to develop one so that you can avoid going into the ER. A trip to the ER may even exacerbate a migraine or provide only temporary relief only to have the pain roaring back within hours after leaving the ER.
What The Er Will Do
Emergency room doctors are seldom headache specialists, so the best they can do is run tests to determine whether the pain is linked to another medical condition. If the test results show your headache is caused by aneurysm, stroke, meningitis or a brain hemorrhage, for example, the first step would be to take steps to treat the underlying problem.
One of the first tests most ERs run is a drug panel, to determine whether you are a user. The opioid epidemic is a serious global problem and users often experience rebound headaches that mimic migraine attacks.
If youre identified as a legitimate migraine patient, or the team on duty is unable to uncover a medical condition requiring emergency care, they will likely try to stabilize the pain and refer you to a headache specialist;for further examination. In extreme cases where the patient is unable to function physically, the ER may hospitalize them and call in a practitioner with the appropriate skills. For patients with signs of vomiting or dehydration, the ER might administer IV fluids along with pain medications.
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Going To The Er For Migraine Is Not The Best Choice
Medical Review:David Watson, MD
A hot topic just about anywhere Migraine is discussed is going to the ER for Migraine treatment. The discussions generally arent positive, and thats not on the shoulders of the Migraine patients. They are simply trying to get help.
One problem that adds to problems with emergency room treatment is that too many people are essentially using the ER in place of their family doctors. Faced with a busy schedule, rather than take time during a weekday to go to the doctor, they wait and go to the ER. Especially during times such as flu season, this can mean that the ER is flooded with patients who could have been treated by their family doctors.
The goal of Migraine treatment should always be the best relief in the shortest time with the fewest problems. Thus, the ER is not the best choice.
There are many reasons to not go to the ER for Migraine:
Any of us can get to the point of having to go to the ER with a migraine on rare occasions, but for most of us with Migraine, theres no reason to have to go even a few times a year if we have a good treatment regimen. A good treatment regimen has three types of treatments:
Whats A Migraine Kit You May Ask
You may be eloquent and have no problem telling your doctor any issues you may be experiencing or your most recent symptoms. However, what happens if you experience a particularly bad migraine, visit the emergency room and have to explain your symptoms or medical history while in severe pain? This may affect your ability to describe your past or present treatments or symptoms.;
An emergency migraine kit containing all the important information helps you and healthcare providers unfamiliar with your case to assist you without exerting yourself.;
So, what goes into a migraine ER kit?
Start with a binder that contains all relevant and important information, including:
Your doctors name and contact information
A list of your allergies
A list of past and current medications
Your treatment protocols
Additionally, pack tinted glasses to help obstruct the harsh lighting commonly used in waiting rooms, earplugs for the noise, and a bottle of water, to stay hydrated.
You should also have someone, be it a friend, family member, or your partner, with you in the emergency room. Having them there will not only make you feel better; its also practical. They can help you take notes if you cannot and share any information or symptoms you may have experienced. They can also help you get home safely.;
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Should I Go To The Emergency Room With A Headache
Headaches are always a nuisance, but it could be your headache is indicating theres something else wrong. The question is when I have a headache, should I go to the emergency room to check it out? Headaches involve head pains that are usually characterized as throbbing, constant, unrelenting, or intermittent. In some cases, such as with migraine headaches, there is associated with nausea and vomiting. Often headaches can be treated with aspirin or ibuprofen and are short-lived. On the other hand, other types of headaches can be severe and debilitating. Still, others indicate there is a serious underlying cause that should be treated immediately by medical staff.
Headaches are one of the most common ailments. According to a survey conducted by the CDC, in 2015, as many as 20% of women and 10% of men suffered a severe headache during the preceding 3-month period. Because headaches are so common, they are often ignored. Nevertheless, headaches can represent symptoms of much more serious conditions. Below are a few common headache types, some serious, along with their associated causes or characteristics. If you have a headache, never attempt to self-diagnose. Instead, go to an emergency room for proper medical attention.
What Your Urgent Care Doctor Can Do For A Migraine Headache
Your urgent care doctor can offer relief for some of your most uncomfortable migraine symptoms. Your doctor can give you injectable nausea relief as well as an injectable anti-inflammatory to provide relief for the pain. Occasionally, steroid injections are also effective at relieving migraine symptoms.
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When Is A Headache Serious
Typically, when patients come to the emergency room complaining of a headache, there is a simple explanation to explain it and a simple treatment to nurse it. However, there are times when a headache can merely be a symptom of a larger concern. In general, the time to go to the emergency room is when there are symptoms that are unusual and new to the patient.
Headaches can be symptoms of problems like stroke, meningitis, or aneurysms, so an ER visit may be necessary to rule out any serious concerns. In addition, if you have any preexisting conditions like kidney problems, autoimmune diseases, and/or heart issues, you may want to go to the ER to check on a headache to make sure new problems have not arisen with your condition.
What Are The Side Effects Of Er Migraine Treatment
The side effects of these migraine treatments are minor and temporary. The most common side effect is drowsiness, so you wont be able to drive right away.
Each type of medicine has individual side effects as well. Some of these side effects are:
- Neuroleptics/antiemetics. Restlessness in the legs or body is common. Very rarely, these medications can cause tics and tremors.
- Sumatriptan. There may be pain or swelling at the site of the injection. Other side effects include redness in the face and neck, a burning feeling, feelings of tightness all over the body, and drowsiness.
- NSAIDs. There are no typical side effects to these medications.
- Opioids. Tiredness and drowsiness are common.
- Dihydroergotamine. Similar to sumatriptan, there can be pain and swelling at the injection site. Drowsiness, stomach problems, and irregular heartbeat are also common.
- Dexamethasone. Research has not found any definite side effects. However, possible side effects are nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping
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What Are Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that cause intense pain. They can start suddenly and get worse quickly. A migraine headache typically lasts from 4 hours to 3 days if not treated. Migraines are thought to run in families.
Symptoms of a migraine headache can include:
- A severe headache, often with throbbing on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty doing physical activities like walking or climbing stairs
Signs That A Headache Is A Medical Emergency
In addition to tension headaches and migraines, there are times when a headache can be a sign of an emergency, such as a stroke, meningitis, or a brain tumor. If you experience any of the following symptoms, dial 911 or go to the ER immediately:
- A headache following head trauma
- An unusually severe headache
- Numbness on the side of your face or body
If you dont want to call 911, have a friend, family, or Uber or Lyft driver take you to the ER. Driving with a severe headache could put your life and the lives of others in danger.
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When To Go To Er For Migraine
When to Go to the ER
When you have a migraine you want migraine relief now. But many times the painkillers and prescription migraine medications just dont work. You know you may just have to wait it out as excruciating as that can be.
But, in some cases, a horrible headache can be dangerous and you should seek emergency migraine relief for your throbbing headache. Dangerous migraines should not be ignored. Make sure you know the difference. Make sure you know the answer to the question: When should I seek emergency migraine treatment?
Er Treatments For Migraines
Once youre in the emergency room for migraine treatment, the doctor will ask you several questions about your condition and the medications you take. If there are any unusual symptoms, the doctor will likely order a brain imaging test. This is a precautionary step that can rule out stroke or aneurysm.
The ER doctor may also provide you medications that can help lessen or manage your migraine. Medications can include:
- Valproic acid which is an anti-seizure medication, but it can also help relieve headaches
- Antiemetics to help alleviate the nausea and the pain
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs which helps reduce inflammation and pain
- Sumatriptan which is a common medicine used that helps with urgent migraine relief
If youre experiencing dehydration, the ER doctor may also put you on IV fluids.
Its important to understand and recognize these warning signs and symptoms so youll know when to visit the ER for migraine. It can help prevent life-threatening risks.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
At The Pain Relief Center, we want to provide the best service we can. Before your appointment, try to compile the following information:
- Your history of severe migraines and history of ER migraine treatment
- Any medicines you take regularly to treat your migraines
- Which medicine works best for you
- The possible benefits and side effects of the medicine
Questions we are frequently asked:
- Which medicine we think might work best for you?
- How fast the medicine will begin working?
- How long the medicine will last?
- The possible side effects?
- How you can prevent migraines in the future?
Should I Seek Out Emergency Care For A Migraine
Seeking out emergency care for a headache might seem a little silly. Take a painkiller and youll be just fine, right? Not always! In some cases, a severe headache or a migraine may require emergency care. Not sure when to go to urgent care or the emergency room for a headache or migraine? Here are the symptoms you need to look out for.
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What To Expect At An Er Visit
Nevertheless, when you go to the ER, be sure to mention to the doctor your symptoms and whether they are new and/or unusual to you. Also, discuss whether or not you are taking any medications, and if so, how much and how often. Additionally, if you have any positive results from a particular medical regimen, it can be helpful for the ER to know that as well.
Sometimes the ER doctors will order tests like CT scans of the head or spinal taps to rule out certain problems associated with headaches, but if your headache is typical and there are no new symptoms, they usually will forgo these tests because they would probably prove unhelpful. In any case, you have the right to refuse the tests if you so choose.
Not All Hospitals And Emergency Rooms Are Alike Some Are Lifesavers
Although it’s a fairly common complaint among ER patients, the space and process are designed to prioritize and treat life-threatening conditions, not Migraine. And to be fair, sometimes they do everything right.
“I have been to our local hospital here several times for a migraine. Couldn’t have been better cared for. The nurses turned the lights off and gave me a cool cloth to put over my eyes while I waited for the Dr. He gave me a shot of Imitrex and I have been taking the pills ever since. Changed my life. I was told that I would never have to wait out in the waiting room, there was always a cool dark room to wait in. Also, when I get the chills as I often do with migraines, they bring me heated blankets.” Roberta C.
“They know me, and someone way back must’ve educated the ER staff I’ve only had 1 bad experience on the 16 years I’ve been having these. It happened to be a just awful nurse that was showing her need to retire ” Hollyanna C.
“Luckily I get treated pretty well at the ER for migraines. Give me some meds and a drip and 5 mins later I feel great. With all the other “patients” that go to the ER they know I’m for real. Around here it’s a lot of people who think they are pregnant, or have a toothache that go to the ER. Mainly because they don’t have insurance.” Meg W.
“My last visit to the ER for migraine was very straightforward and helpful. Checked out, IV fluids, Toradol, Compazine actually was a good experience .” June B.
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The Guidelines Were Based On Research
The medications included in the guidelines were chosen after a comprehensive review of emergency migraine treatment. Experts looked at 68 studies that used 28 different injectable medications. Five of the studies also assessed steroids for preventing migraine recurrence after a patient leaves the ER. Medications were evaluated for how effectively they reduce a migraine attacks severity and also for risks and adverse events. The medications recommended all have strong research to support their efficacy in the ER.
ERs throughout the country currently vary widely in the treatments they use for migraine. Benjamin W. Friedman, M.D., a member of the expert panel, said that about 20 different medication combinations are used and some of them are not very effective. The American Headache Society issued these guidelines to help patients find effective relief without risking future complications, like medication overuse headache.