Not all headaches are created equal. Sure most headaches are benign and can be easily treated with Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
What about the ones that might be more concerning? Below is a list of some (not all) “red flag” symptoms, which should prompt you to be seen in the ER:
Fever especially with a stiff neck and or confusions could represent something serious such as meningitis or encephalitis.
If the headache came on suddenly and is the worst headache of your life, then this could potentially be from an aneurysm of an artery in your brain.
If you are on blood thinners and have had any trauma to the head-even bumping your head- and or you have a pretty bad headache, the headache could be from bleeding in your brain.
If you have any signs of a stroke with the headache such as slurred speech, blurry vision, weakness on one side of your body or difficulty walking go to the ER.
If you have a recent diagnosis of cancer and or are being treated for cancer, then headache could be from spread of the cancer.
If you have had recent surgery in head, neck or face then the headache could be from a complication of the surgery such as bleeding or infection.
If you have high blood pressure and are not taking your medications as prescribed and or have noticed that your blood pressure has increased, then the headache could be from the high blood pressure.
By no means is this an exhaustive list. Bottom line if the headache is different from your usual headache, is severe or you are concerned then go to the ER.