7 signs your headache needs a doctor

Joshua Strommen MD, FACEP

Having a headache is debilitating, irritating, and always inconvenient. Headaches can be primary in nature, which means they are benign and usually due to migraines, tension headaches, or cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are from more serious disorders, which must be evaluated and treated.

Dangerous headache symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms coinciding with a headache, it's time to see a doctor.

  • Fever (Temp > 100.4 F)
  • Headache that begins abruptly and is 10/10 in severity
  • Losing consciousness or being confused
  • Face, arm, or leg weakness
  • Eye pain or visual impairment
  • Recent trauma to the head
  • Medical history of HIV or cancer

Secondary Causes of Headaches

  • Meningitis
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
  • Intracranial Bleed
  • Glaucoma
  • Optic Neuritis
  • Skull Fracture
  • Intracranial Abscess
  • Metastatic Cancer
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri


All of the above circumstances are indications you need an evaluation in an Emergency Department. At PremiER we have the laboratory, imaging, and medicinal resources to diagnose and treat any acute headache emergency. If you are unsure about your symptoms, look us up at www.premier.care for the closest location or contact information.