Health Topics

When to Call the Doctor about Your Headache Symptoms

Any kind of pain that you feel is your body’s way of warning you about an injury or illness. Although headaches are rarely the symptoms of a serious illness, occasionally they may indicate a serious medical condition such as a tumor or aneurysm (blood vessel rupture). It is important for you to become familiar with your personal headache symptoms, and those that require immediate medical attention.

Alarming Headache Symptoms

So, what headache symptoms should cause concern? View the listing below for more information.

Symptoms Requiring Immediate Medical Care

These headache symptoms should prompt you to seek immediate medical care for yourself or your child:

  • A sudden, new, severe headache
  • A headache that is associated with neurological symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, sudden loss of balance or falling, numbness or tingling, paralysis, speech difficulties, mental confusion, seizures, personality changes/inappropriate behavior or vision changes (blurry vision, double vision, or blind spots)
  • Headache with a fever, shortness of breath, stiff neck or rash
  • Headache pain that awakens you at night
  • Headaches with severe nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches that occur after a head injury or accident
  • Getting a new type of headache after age 55

Symptoms Requiring an Appointment With Your Doctor

Contact your health care provider if you or your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Three or more headaches per week
  • Headaches that keep getting worse and won’t go away
  • Need to take a pain reliever every day or almost every day for your headaches
  • Need more than 2-3 doses of over-the-counter medications per week to relieve headache symptoms
  • Headaches that are triggered by exertion, coughing, bending or strenuous activity
  • A history of headaches, but have noticed a recent change in your headache symptoms