The majority of us experience headaches at least once in our lives. There are a few different types of headaches — like tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches — and there are numerous causes for why they occur. They may develop due to stress, environmental factors, diet, dehydration, allergic reactions, infections, or other reasons. They may also range quite a bit in pain severity; sometimes, they may present as nothing more than a dull discomfort or tension, but they may also cause debilitating pain that keeps us from being able to go about our daily lives.

When headaches become a chronic, pervasive problem, it’s important that we get immediate treatment from our personal physician or even a specialist. But when a particularly bad headache comes out of nowhere and doesn’t seem to go away, what can we do? In many cases, it may be appropriate to visit your local urgent care clinic.

When To Go To Urgent Care For a Headache

  • Your headache hasn’t gone away in a timely manner or lasts for more than a day
  • Your headache is accompanied by a fever, a rash, or vomiting
  • You feel dizzy, weak, confused, or nauseated
  • Your headache has developed after starting a new medication
  • You experience three or more headaches per week
  • Your headache came on after a minor accident
  • You’re taking more than two or three doses of over-the-counter medications per week for your headaches
  • Your headache develops after you bend your body, cough, or otherwise exert yourself
  • You notice a sudden change in the type or severity of your headaches

If you experience any of these symptoms or circumstances, you may be able to get immediate treatment at a walk-in clinic. The medical staff there should also be able to provide recommendations of how to treat headaches like these in the future through medication, environmental changes, and other holistic ideas.

In rare cases, it may be better to visit an emergency room for headache treatment. While only 3% of patients who go to an urgent care center need to be diverted to the ER, there are some specific situations that may warrant this. For example, a headache that follows severe head trauma should be checked out by emergency room staff. You should also visit an ER if you experience a severe headache that comes on within a matter of seconds, as this could indicate a stroke. Any headache that is accompanied by blurry vision, double vision, or vision loss should also be considered an emergency situation. For the most part, though, you should be able to head to an urgent care center to get immediate treatment for most headaches, recover in a quiet place, and obtain the information you need for the future.

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