Headaches happen all the time, but not every headache is a migraine. Most headaches are mild to moderate in intensity and respond easily to over-the-counter pain relievers. Migraines are usually moderate to severe in intensity and may last for hours or days. Migraines often prevent you from participating in your normal activities.
Causes of migraine headaches
When you have a migraine, the pain is usually on one side of your head. Your migraine may also be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, and you may also be sensitive to light or sound.
While we don’t know exactly what causes migraine headaches, people report many common triggers. Triggers can include:
- Certain foods and food additives
- Skipping meals
- Physical strain
- Lack of sleep
While both men and women can get migraines, women are more likely to get migraines than men. Migraines can also be hereditary; people with a family member who gets migraines are more likely to experience migraines themselves.
When to go to urgent care for a migraine headache
Many migraines, although painful and disruptive, will resolve on their own in a day or so. But some migraines will make you so sick, you may need to visit an urgent care doctor to get some relief. Go to an urgent care near you for your migraine if your nausea is extreme and you’re unable to keep down food or clear liquids. You should also visit an urgent care doctor if your migraine lasts more than 24 hours and the pain is still intense. Get a friend or family member to drive you to urgent care if you are experiencing severe migraine symptoms.
Some intense headaches may require a trip to the emergency room. Go to the ER for your migraine if:
- You are experiencing seizures or loss of consciousness
- You cannot move part of your body
- You have any symptoms that could be a possible stroke
What your urgent care doctor can do for a migraine headache
Your urgent care doctor can offer relief for some of your most uncomfortable migraine symptoms. Your doctor can give you injectable nausea relief as well as an injectable anti-inflammatory to provide relief for the pain. Occasionally, steroid injections are also effective at relieving migraine symptoms.
What you can do for a migraine headache
If you get a migraine headache, don’t panic -- there are things you can do at home to relieve your migraine symptoms. Rest in a cool, quiet, dark room can help; when you have a migraine, you want to minimize stimuli to allow your brain to rest. Over-the-counter migraine medications can also provide more relief than ibuprofen or acetaminophen on their own. Allow yourself to rest while you’re suffering a migraine attack since activity can make the pain worse. And if you’re nauseated, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
While you can get temporary relief for your migraine from your urgent care doctor, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor if you start to have migraines more frequently.