When To Go To The ER For a Migraine

When To Go To The ER For a Migraine

Migraines are not your typical headaches.

They are s a throbbing pain on one side of the head that usually won’t go away with just pain killers. It can make you sensitive to light and sound. Worse symptoms include over fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Severe migraines can interrupt your daily life. They can cause you to miss work, school, and even personal events. Some people experience migraines so severe that they have to go to the emergency room.

When To Go To The ER For a Migraine

Migraines are actually more common than you might think. In fact, 1.2 million ER visits each year in the United States are because of migraines. If you have been diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches, it is crucial to be mindful of serious signs and symptoms that may require you to visit the ER.

Here are some signs and symptoms that you need to visit the ER. Experts recommend you go to the ER if you feel any of these symptoms while experiencing a migraine:

  • Feeling stiff in the neck
  • Experiencing high fever
  • Sudden change in baseline headache
  • Convulsions
  • Weak muscles
  • Any change to your speech or your vision
  • Confusion
  • Change in your awareness
  • Numbness in any part of your body
  • Tingling sensation in any part of your body

Additionally, if you are over 50 years old, and you get a migraine headache within seconds, it’s important to get emergency medical help. There could be an underlying medical emergency that is more severe such as a stroke.

For those who have a family history of heart diseases, kidney, liver disease or stroke, it’s also better to take extra precautions. This is because a sudden or changing headache can signal a medical emergency that could potentially be life-threatening.

If you experience migraine with aura, you should not take it lightly either. This could increase your risk of getting stroke in the future. Be sure to let your doctors know if you’re experiencing migraine with aura.

ER Treatments For Migraines

Once you’re 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 you’re experiencing dehydration, the ER doctor may also put you on IV fluids.

It’s important to understand and recognize these warning signs and symptoms so you’ll know when to visit the ER for migraine. It can help prevent life-threatening risks.

Guide to Migraines

This article is part of our Guide to Migraine Treatments and Causes.

Check out the next topic in this series: How To Prevent Ocular Migraines

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