Most headaches are minor, and you can treat them with a pain reliever. Some head pain, however, signals a dangerous or serious medical problem. Don't ignore unexplained head pain or head pain that steadily worsens.

Get immediate medical attention if your head pain:

  • Develops suddenly and severely
  • Accompanies a fever; stiff neck; rash; mental confusion; loss of consciousness; seizures; changes in vision, such as blurring or seeing halos around lights; dizziness; weakness or paralysis, such as in the arms or legs; loss of balance; a reddened eye; numbness; or difficulty speaking
  • Is severe and follows a recent sore throat or respiratory infection
  • Begins or worsens after a head injury, fall or bump
  • Is a different type of headache from your usual and you're older than 50
  • Progressively worsens over the course of a single day or persists for several days
Dec. 20, 2011