When To Go To The ER For A Migraine


If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know it can be painful enough to stop you in your tracks.

You might have trouble with sensitivity to light or sound and may become nauseous, causing you to vomit.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, there are some things you should know about migraines and when you should prompt a trip to the emergency room.

What Is A Migraine

A migraine is a common neurological disorder that can be disabling. In fact, migraine is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide.

It’s also a chronic condition, which means it requires long-term management and care to lessen symptoms.

Migraines are recurrent conditions — meaning they can come back again and again over time — with symptoms ranging from moderate pain to severe head pain or nausea and vomiting, which may last between four hours and three days.

The main feature of migraines is an intense throbbing headache on one side of your head that’s often accompanied by:

  • sensitivity to light, sound, or smell;
  • dizziness;
  • blurred vision;
  • neck stiffness;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting (or retching without throwing up);
  • chills/muscle aches/fatigue/malaise/fever/sweating

What Causes Migraines

When To Go To The ER For A Migraine
When To Go To The ER For A Migraine

While the mechanisms behind this disease are still unknown, there is some consensus on what causes migraines.

Migraines have been linked to changes in blood flow to the brain, as well as an imbalance of chemicals like serotonin and glutamate. These changes happen when you experience something called a “migraine trigger.” Triggers vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  • Foods (chocolate, cheese)
  • Drinks (alcohol)
  • Stressors (anxiety)
  • A migraine attack is usually triggered by environmental factors like these, along with genetics and other health issues like cluster headaches or epilepsy.

When To Go To Hospital For Migraine

There are several signs and symptoms that indicate your migraine is severe enough to warrant emergency care:

  • Severe headache that does not respond to over-the-counter pain medications (like ibuprofen) within a few hours
  • Intense nausea and vomiting, which may cause dehydration or loss of consciousness
  • Severe neck pain and stiffness with significant difficulty moving your neck
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking (a symptom known as facial droop) or walking unassisted

If you experience these symptoms during an episode of migraines, call 911 immediately.

Signs Of A Medical Emergency For A Migraine

There are several signs of a medical emergency for a migraine.

These include:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck stiffness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint

If you experience these symptoms, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately.

RapidCare Emergency Room meets all of the city’s urgent and non-urgent medical requirements in a timely, compassionate, and high-quality way that the local community deserves.

We are delighted to name this lovely city our home, as we are ideally positioned between the busy Fairmont Pkwy and the 146 highway. If you require medical attention, please do not hesitate to visit our emergency room, where we will treat you as one of our own.

Your Migraine May Be A Symptom Of Another Condition

It is possible that your migraine may be a symptom of another condition, such as a stroke or brain tumor. In these cases, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Treatment Of Migraine In The ER

When To Go To The ER For A Migraine
When To Go To The ER For A Migraine

If you are in the ER with a migraine, the first thing your doctor or nurse will do is ask about any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

If they suspect that it’s not just a headache, but rather something more serious or dangerous (such as an allergic reaction or stroke), then they will likely take some tests to determine whether this is true.

The treatment for migraine in the ER usually involves pain medication (usually in pill form).

Typically, doctors prescribe strong narcotics like hydrocodone and codeine to help alleviate pain caused by migraines.

They also give sedatives such as lorazepam (Ativan) and alprazolam (Xanax) in order to calm you down if anxiety is contributing to your symptoms—and possibly even cause vomiting from nausea during an episode of severe pain.

Why Choose RapidCare Emergency Room For Your Migraine

If you’re unsure whether or not your migraines should be treated in the emergency room, know that at RapidCare, we understand urgent care for migraine, migraine-related symptoms and will provide you with the best care possible.

  • Fast and friendly service
  • No appointment necessary
  • Walk-in hours available
  • Walk-in service is available 24/7

Get Help Immediately

While there are a variety of medications that are used for the treatment of migraine, a visit to the ER can be beneficial in the short term due to its closeness and availability.

Additionally, it is important to note some patients have developed conditions in which they do not respond to any traditional migraine treatments.

When choosing an option for your medical needs you should always consult your primary care physician.

ER migraine treatment is just one of the many services we offer at RapidCare.

As an emergency care provider, we are open 24 hours a day and don’t require appointments for treatment. If you have any questions about your migraine or our services, call us today!