If You Have a Migraine, When Should You Go to the Emergency Room?

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Migraine is a painful disease that causes sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting. This can have an impact on your quality of life by causing you to miss work, school, and important life events.

Some people may experience such severe pain that they must visit the emergency room (ER). In fact, migraine causes approximately 1.2 million ER visits in the United States each year.

If you have a migraine diagnosis, you should be aware of any serious symptoms that may necessitate immediate medical attention. Here are some warning signs that you should go to the emergency room.
Reasons to seek emergency assistance
If you are experiencing new and unusual symptoms, seeking emergency medical attention may be a good option. Another reason is if your regular treatment does not work or worsens your headache.

Most people who go to the ER have a new level of pain that is more severe than a previous migraine.

Warning Signs Of A Medical Emergency

Seek medical attention right away if your migraine is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

1. a headache that appears suddenly or a change in baseline headache
2. stiffness in the neck

3. a high temperature

4. muscle wasting

5. alterations in speech or vision

6. sensation of numbness or tingling

7. convulsions

8. confusion or shifts in perception

A migraine headache that appears within seconds, especially if you're over the age of 50, is a sign that you should seek emergency medical attention.

A headache and its associated symptoms can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying medical emergency, such as a stroke.

Consider taking extra precautions if you have a history of stroke, heart disease, or liver or kidney disease. A new or changing headache could indicate a potentially fatal emergency.

Migraine with aura may increase your chances of having a stroke in the future. This type of migraine is distinguished by vision changes or neurological symptoms that occur prior to the headache.

If you suffer from migraines with aura on a regular basis, consult your doctor about emergency medical symptoms to be aware of.

Migraine Treatment In The Emergency Room

The primary function of an ER is to evaluate and treat conditions that require immediate attention. If you go to the emergency room for a migraine and have any unusual symptoms, the ER doctor will almost certainly order brain imaging to rule out a stroke or aneurysm.

If you are not experiencing any unusual symptoms, you may not require any diagnostic imaging tests. Instead, your ER doctor will inquire about your headache and the medications you are currently taking.

If necessary, your ER doctor can prescribe medications to help relieve your migraine until you can see your regular doctor.

Headache medications can be administered either intravenously or intramuscularly. These are some examples:

1. antiemetics to help with nausea and pain relief

2. dihydroergotamine, which is used to treat migraines for an extended period of time

3. steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and pain

4. sumatriptan, which relieves migraines quickly

5. Valproic acid is an anti-seizure medication used to treat headaches.

An ER doctor may occasionally prescribe you opioids, but this is uncommon. This is due to the possibility of side effects and the risk of dependence.

If you're dehydrated, your ER doctor may give you fluids through an IV in addition to pain relievers.

The Main Point

While migraine is a treatable condition, it's critical to recognize warning signs that indicate a trip to the ER.

If you have a sudden onset headache with other serious symptoms, you should go to the emergency room.

The ER can provide medications to relieve pain temporarily, but you will most likely require a long-term treatment plan. Make an appointment with your regular doctor as soon as possible to go over your treatment plan. You should also bring your discharge papers with you.
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