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Migraine Headache FAQs (cont.)

Should a person with migraine headaches see a doctor?

Yes! A person with any type of intense headache, especially a recurring one, may have a life-threatening underlying condition. A doctor's evaluation is definitely necessary. If the doctor makes a diagnosis of migraine headache, various treatments are available. These treatments can significantly improve a migraineur's quality of life.

A doctor should be called if a person experiences any of the following problems:

  • A change in frequency, severity, or features of the migraines typically experienced
  • A progressively worsening headache that lasts for days
  • A headache brought on by what doctors call Valsalva maneuvers (coughing, sneezing, bearing down, straining while on the toilet)
  • Large weight loss (unintentional)
  • Weakness or paralysis that lasts after a headache stops

A person who has any of the following should go or be taken to a hospital emergency department:

  • The worst headache of his or her life, especially if the headache comes on suddenly
  • Headache associated with trauma to the head
  • Loss of consciousness associated with trauma to the head
  • Fever or stiff neck associated with a headache
  • Decreased level of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Paralysis onone side of the body
  • Seizures
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2014
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