Can You Visit an Urgent Care for Headaches and Migraines?
September 26, 2020
September 26, 2020
Headaches can often be managed at home using medications and simple treatments. But there are times when the pain is intense – and professional medical care is required.
Not only are chronic or severe headaches disruptive to your daily lifestyle, but these symptoms could be a sign of underlying health concerns.
If you find that you can’t get rid of a headache with a nap or over the counter medications, then you might consider a visit to a nearby urgent care for diagnosis and treatment.
At-Home Headache Treatments
Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons, which is why the best treatment varies from one person to the next. Something that works for you might not be an effective solution for another patient.
It’s important that you identify the underlying cause of the headache, as well as triggers that might bring the symptoms on in the future.
At-home treatments might be sufficient for mild or moderate headaches.
Try some of these tips to see if you can alleviate your headache before visiting a doctor:
- Pain Medication: Drug store pain relievers might be sufficient to reduce your pain levels so you can get back to your regular activities. Try using naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Always follow the dosage and frequency instructions on the bottle. If you have recurring headaches, then you might have a prescription medication that can be used when a migraine is coming on.
- Take it Easy: Pushing through the headache might make the symptoms worse. Even if you don’t have time to take a break, it might be the best solution to lay down for a short time so you can get ahead of the problem before minor symptoms turn into debilitating pain. Lay or sit in a dim or dark room, with your eyes closed. Use relaxation methods such as meditation or breathing. If possible, it can be helpful to sleep for a few hours.
- Caffeine: Do you notice that the headaches increase when you are going through caffeine withdrawals? If you drink caffeine regularly, then it might make sense to drink a little bit to reduce your headache pain. Be careful though – if you have frequent headaches, then it is recommended that you avoid caffeine. If possible, kicking your caffeine habit might be the key to reducing your headaches in the future.
- Cold or Hot: Using hot or cold compresses could be effective for reducing your symptoms, depending on the type of headache you have. If it’s a migraine, apply a cold pack on the forehead area. Sinus headaches can be treated using a warm washcloth covering the sinuses on the forehead and under the eyes. Tension headaches often respond well to a warm heating pad on the neck and at the base of the head.
For best results, it’s important to start these at-home treatments as soon as you notice the headache starting. The earlier you get ahead of the symptoms, the better the results will be.
When Should You Go to an Urgent Care for Headaches?
How do you know when professional medical services are needed for your headaches? Even though you might feel uncomfortable about talking to a doctor, scheduling an appointment is one step that moves you closer to finding relief from your symptoms.
It’s important that you seek medical care for your headache if you are experiencing any of these signs:
- New Symptoms: Are your current symptoms different compared to symptoms you’ve had in the past? Changing symptoms could be an indication of a changing health condition.
- Extreme Pain: If the pain is disrupting your life or you notice other extreme symptoms associated with your headaches, then it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor. When normal medications don’t reduce the pain, then prescriptions might be the only solution to take away your discomfort.
- Duration of Pain: How long have you been experiencing headache pain? Persistent headaches can take a toll on every area of your life. If the pain hangs on despite your treatment efforts, then it might be time for professional treatments.
- Head Injury: When a serious headache happens because of an injury to the head, then it’s important to seek medical treatment.
- Additional Symptoms: The most common symptom is pain in the head, but the presence of other symptoms could be an indication that immediate medical treatment is necessary. Go to an urgent care or emergency room as soon as possible if you have slurred speech, confusion, high fever, stiff neck, loss of balance, persistent vomiting, vision problems, difficulty speaking, increasing pain, or no relief from at-home treatments.
How an Urgent Care Can Help
Visiting an urgent care for headache treatment can be an important step in finding the long-term health solutions you need. Remember that urgent care nurses and doctors aren’t migraine or headache specialists. But they can provide immediate treatment to reduce your pain. Additionally, testing can be done in the urgent care to check for other serious health conditions.
When you come to our urgent care, we will first complete an examination followed by additional testing if needed. For example, we might recommend digital imaging (such as a CT scan) to ensure there is no bleeding in the brain.
Our goal is to help with immediate pain relief, then we can provide suggestions for other tests, treatments, or services that might be required. These medications offer the pain relief you need in the moment, but they don’t address the underlying cause of your headaches. If you are dealing with chronic migraines or ongoing headaches, then it’s a good idea to talk to a specialist about potential treatment options.
Preparing for Your Urgent Care Visit
When you are going to an urgent care for a headache or migraine, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the treatment. Bring any medical records you have that documents your history with migraines. Also, you will be asked for information about current medications and supplements you are using.
Sometimes, it can be beneficial to bring a family member or friend to the appointment. It can be hard to think clearly when you are in pain. Your family member can be an advocate to assist with treatment decisions. Additionally, the person will have a clearer mind to pay attention to treatment recommendations that should be followed at home. It’s also helpful to have another person there to drive you to-and-from the appointment since you shouldn’t be driving while taking certain medications.
One of the biggest benefits of choosing an urgent care is that you don’t have to wait for an appointment. We provide immediate medical services, giving you access to a doctor without waiting for weeks or months for appointment availability.
Not only do we provide urgent care services, but we also offer general checkups and family care treatments. Schedule an appointment or in-office or virtually through our On-Demand system.