For many people, headaches seem like nothing more than a mild annoyance. For others, they can cause severe, disabling pain. So, when are headaches just a bothersome ache or something more serious?
Headaches occur when pain-sensitive nerve endings around the scalp, in the blood vessels that surround the skull and in other areas around the head send impulses to the part of the brain that interprets pain signals from the rest of the body. Common types of headaches include tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches or sinus headaches. You may also get a headache with a cold, the flu or other viral illnesses when you have a low fever or congestion.
However, problems with blood vessels can cause a headache and need immediate medical attention. These problems include:
Other causes of a headache that require examination from a healthcare professional include:
The best time to visit the emergency room for a headache is when the symptoms are unusual for you. It’s important to get these new symptoms checked out as they may signal a more significant issue, such as an aneurysm or meningitis. Additionally, headaches that start very suddenly (within a few seconds) can be an indication of a stroke.
Other signs that your headache is an emergency are:
If you believe that your headache calls for immediate medical attention, St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital is here for you. Our innovative model and streamlined processes allow patients to meet with doctors within fifteen minutes of their arrival. Each of our facilities are equipped with 24/7 dedicated radiologists and state-of-the-art radiology and imaging services with turnaround times of 30 minutes or less.
Find the St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital nearest you.