When to go to Urgent Care for Headache
Headaches are one of most common reasons people go to urgent care, but it’s rare that a headache is a sign of something serious. Tension headaches and migraines can be helped by OTC painkillers or muscle relaxants, so don’t waste time when you have an appointment at urgent care near you. If your headache is not due to tension or dehydration, or if it persists beyond a few days, tell your doctor. The urgent care physician may conduct blood tests and other diagnostic procedures to determine whether there’s an underlying cause like meningitis or a brain tumor. An x-ray might also be performed if doctors suspect an abnormality on your skull.
When pain lasts longer than 12 hours or is accompanied by nausea, light sensitivity, or vomiting, you may need more than over-the-counter medication. When in doubt about whether to visit urgent care for headache pain, give your doctor a call. If he doesn’t have time to talk and you feel bad enough that you need attention right away, head to an urgent care center. Find out why these centers are becoming so popular—and what makes them better equipped than traditional doctors’ offices.
Headaches are a common side effect of allergic reactions, so going to urgent care is a good idea if your allergy symptoms get so bad that you’re in excruciating pain. Fortunately, there are several headache remedies at your disposal—even while you’re waiting for an allergist. Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with mild headaches, and some allergies can be treated with antihistamines (typically over-the-counter). And if those don’t help, aspirin has proven effective at relieving migraines in many patients. But again, if any of these treatments isn’t working or your headache is getting worse and worse instead of better, it might be time to head to urgent care.
If your headache is worse than any other you’ve experienced before and you have other symptoms that make it more worrisome, such as neck stiffness or nausea. If you don’t feel better after two days of taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). If your headache strikes when you’re in a new place or if it’s accompanied by a fever, seizures, confusion, weakness on one side of your body, partial paralysis or double vision. These are all signs of a potentially life-threatening condition called meningitis.