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When should I see a doctor about my headaches?

You have a headache emergency and should see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if you are experiencing the following:

  • severe headache with sudden onset
  • headache pain that feels like an explosion or thunderclap
  • severe headache that is clearly your worst-ever headache
  • headache pain that is continuous and becoming worse
  • headache pain that persists following an injury to the head
  • headache accompanied by one or more of these symptoms: stiff neck, severe pain when bending over, confusion, convulsions, loss of consciousness, persistent, severe vomiting

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are experiencing the following:

  • more than three headaches per week
  • daily, or almost daily, use of pain relievers for headache pain
  • regular use of more than the recommended dose of nonprescription (over-the-counter) headache medications
  • recent onset of headache pain after being headache-free in the past
  • headaches beginning after the age of 50

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.