Severe Headache Emergency
Most headaches are not dangerous and do not require emergency treatment. But a few headaches are potentially life-threatening, and require urgent care.
The following are history factors suggesting a more serious underlying cause of headache:
- The first or worst headache of the patient's life, especially if the headache onset was rapid
- A change in frequency, severity, or clinical features of the attack from what usually is experienced
- A New progressive headache that persists for days
Such “worst headache” or change of pattern headaches might have a different cause from your usual headache e.g. as the prodrome to a bleeding stroke, a sign of increased pressure in the brain due to brain tumor, an enlarging artery or aneurysm, meningitis or other causes. What to do. Don‘t wait. Call 911 or be taken to the nearest emergency room. (Don‘t drive yourself.)