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When to see a headache specialist


Although few headaches signal the presence of a serious underlying medical condition, they may be a symptom that something else is wrong, especially severe headaches. Use this chart to check off any of the conditions that apply to you. If you have any checks, you should call your healthcare professional as soon as possible for professional headache help. Your pharmacist and doctor can be important partners in headache management.

If any of the following items apply to you, or if you have any questions about your headaches, call your physician or healthcare professional at once for headache help.

  • Your headache gets worse instead of better or has changed in character You experience three or more headaches a week
  • You must take a pain reliever every day or almost daily to relieve your headache symptoms
  • Your headache is accompanied by any of these symptoms:
    • stiff neck and/or fever
    • shortness of breath
    • unexpected symptoms that affect your eyes, ears, nose, or throat
    • dizziness, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or tingling
    • confusion or drowsiness
    • persistent or severe vomiting
  • Your headaches begin after or are triggered by head injury, exertion, coughing, bending, or sexual activity
  • Your headaches began after you reached the age of 50

Migraines are a more severe headache, which can also have some of the above symptoms. Therefore, you should see your doctor for diagnosis of a migraine.

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