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Mild Headache (cont.)

When to Call the Doctor for Headache Pain

Consult a doctor about your headache and find out what can be done for pain relief in these situations:

  • You have a chronic medical illness such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack or stroke, diabetes, or liver problems.
  • You do not get relief with over-the-counter pain medications.
  • You are taking any other prescription or nonprescription medications.
  • There is any change in the normal pattern of your headache.
  • You have a new type of headache that you never had before.
  • You have pain in your face or eyes.

Although headaches are very common, they may be a sign of serious disease that warrants immediate medical attention. Go to an emergency department if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Severe pain
  • Pain that develops very rapidly (sudden onset)
  • A change in concentration or ability to think
  • A change in level of alertness
  • Altered speech
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty walking
  • Changes in vision
  • Headache with a stiff neck or neck pain, or if light hurts your eyes
  • Worst headache of your life
  • Headache with dizziness, room spinning, or falling to one side
  • Headache from an injury or blow to the head
  • Headache with fever (over 100.4 F or 38 C when taken by mouth)

Mild Headache Diagnosis

When you have no serious symptoms, testing is not necessary with mild headaches. Blood tests are usually not helpful because the results are almost always normal unless other symptoms are present. Without injury, X-rays or CT scans are usually not necessary. Even with an injury to the head, X-rays or scans are often not needed. Physical examination in mild headache is generally normal, except for possible tenderness of the muscles of the scalp or neck.

How to Get Rid of a Headache

There are a variety of treatment options for mild headaches including self-care therapies as well as over-the-counter medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017
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