Headaches are a common issue for most people, and rarely are they cause for concern. Occasionally, however, the sudden onset of a prolonged headache or migraine may mean that it’s time to seek treatment at your nearest emergency room. You know you body better than anyone. If you sense something is seriously wrong, visit an ER immediately.

Headaches vs. Migraines

While both are types of headaches, migraines are typically much more severe. Not to be confused with cluster or sinus headaches, migraines are often debilitating. Migraine symptoms, which can be quite painful and unpleasant, include:

  • High sensitivity to light
  • Nausea
  • Pain behind one ear
  • Lightheadedness, dizzy spells, or vertigo
  • Pain behind the temples
  • Temporary vision loss
  • Vomiting

Although painful, headaches and migraines alike often can often be treated at home with rest and over-the-counter medications. However, there are times when a headache can be indicative of something more serious. Below are some helpful hints on when you should visit the nearest Aurora ER for treatment.

When to go to the ER for a headache – symptoms and conditions

If the sudden onset of a headache prevents you from performing daily tasks, is significantly debilitating, or is accompanied by the following symptoms, you should seek emergency treatment near you:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty walking
  • Severe pain that begins suddenly
  • Neurological symptoms including weakness, numbing, slurred speech and blurred vision 

Individuals with certain medical conditions may also be at serious risk of harm. If you are experiencing any of these conditions along with your headache, you should immediately visit the nearest Aurora emergency room:

  • A headache immediately following a head injury
  • If you are taking blood thinners
  • Recent head injury or trauma

Exceptional Aurora ER care

At The Medical Center of Aurora, our staff has the highest levels of expertise in treating your headache and other emergency concerns. Our commitment to exceptional care is echoed in our dedication to fast wait times; at our Aurora emergency room, every patient is seen within 10 minutes. The Medical Center of Aurora houses a Level II trauma center, stroke center and cardiac center of excellence, so that our team can care for the most complex of cases.