When Do Your Headaches Need Medical Attention?

Nearly everyone gets headaches from time to time. Although some studies have shown that 5%-10% of people have never suffered a headache, there’s no known explanation or reason that a person may never feel head pain.

Pain tolerance and pain perception can play a role, but even tough guys sometimes have to reach for the headache meds.

Around 80% of Americans suffer tension headaches, caused by stress and muscle tension. So, you’re normal if you suffer a headache every now and then. But chronic headaches, which occur nearly daily, can be painful and debilitating.

Do you find that you often suffer headaches or experience extreme symptoms during headaches? If so, come see us at Physical Medicine & Wellness Center of Northern Kentucky.

Skilled chiropractor Benton Dammel, DC, and the rest of our team are dedicated to helping you find relief from your pain and other life-disrupting symptoms. Use this blog to learn when your headaches may need medical attention.

Regular headaches

There are three general ways to categorize the pain of a headache. The lowest tier is the common headache — it’s painful and annoying but can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers.

Tension headaches, sinus headaches, caffeine headaches, and stress headaches fall into this category. Suffering the occasional headache isn’t a reason to seek medical attention

Headaches you should address with your doctor

Beyond normal headaches are headaches you should schedule an appointment to discuss. It’s time to see a doctor if you:

  • Have three or more headaches per week

  • Suffer 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 for headache relief

  • Have a history of headaches but a recent change in symptoms

You should also address headaches that keep you from working, sleeping, or participating in normal activities.

Headaches that need immediate medical attention

Some headaches warrant a trip to the emergency room. You should call 911 or seek immediate medical treatment if you experience the absolute worst headache of your life or a sudden, severe headache. You should also seek immediate help if you have a headache accompanied by:

  • Confusion or trouble understanding speech

  • Fainting

  • High fever

  • Numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of your body

  • Stiff neck

  • Trouble seeing

  • Trouble speaking

  • Trouble walking

  • Nausea or vomiting

These headaches could be the symptom of a serious illness or a medical event, like stroke, meningitis, or encephalitis.

How we treat headaches

At Physical Medicine & Wellness Center of Northern Kentucky, we have extensive experience treating migraine patients and those who suffer chronic headaches. After diagnosis, we work with you to create a custom treatment plan.

In the past, we’ve used chiropractic care, rehab, massage therapy, and electrical stimulation to relieve headache symptoms and we often treat the root causes of tension headaches and other muscle-related head pain.

If you’re concerned about your headaches, call our Florence, Kentucky, office today, or book your appointment online.