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Headache: Should you see a doctor?

Reviewed 7/24/2023

Headache assessment

Some headaches are simply a pain. But others are a signal that you need medical attention. Take this assessment to find out what your headache symptoms might be telling you.

Note: This assessment is not intended to be a substitute for a visit with your healthcare provider.

Check the box next to the descriptions that match the symptoms you (or a loved one) are experiencing:

The headache occurred after a head injury.

You have two or more headaches per week.

The headache came on suddenly and is severe.

The headache is sudden, severe and accompanied by a stiff neck.

The headache is severe and accompanied by a fever, nausea or vomiting that isn't related to another illness.

The headache has gotten worse over days or weeks, or the symptoms have changed.

The headache is your first one or your worst headache ever.

The headache is accompanied by convulsions.

The headache is accompanied by shortness of breath.

The headache is accompanied by troubling symptoms such as vision problems or loss of consciousness.

The headache is accompanied by a loss of sensation or weakness in any part of the body.

You don't usually have headaches, but now you have one that won't go away.

You've started getting headaches and you have a history of cancer or have HIV/AIDS.

A child is having recurring headaches.


If any of the symptom descriptions applied to you, you need to immediately call or see a physician.

If none of these symptom descriptions applied to you, your headaches may not warrant an immediate visit to the doctor. However, you may want to consult a doctor if your headaches are interfering with your daily life or causing you concern—regardless of the results of this assessment. Remember, the results of this assessment are not intended to take the place of a doctor's advice.


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