Is Your Headache Bad Enough for a Visit to the ER?

Headaches are quite common and can be caused by everything from poor posture to sleep deprivation. But sometimes, a headache might indicate a serious or even life-threatening medical condition that requires emergency transportation to the hospital. These include conditions like meningitis and a ruptured brain aneurysm. When neurological emergencies affect people in the Riverside area, specialty care can be found at Riverside Community Hospital.

Ruptured Brain Aneurysm
When a blood vessel wall bulges outward and stretches, it is referred to as an aneurysm. An aneurysm can occur in any blood vessel, including in blood vessels of the brain. Most aneurysms aren’t detected until they rupture or leak. When this occurs, the patient is likely to experience an extremely painful headache. The headache may be accompanied by other symptoms such as seizures, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness, and stiff neck. If you or a loved one suffers the rapid onset of these types of symptoms, it’s time to call 911.

Stroke
Stroke is another life-threatening cause of sudden, severe headaches. Most strokes occur when an obstruction in a blood vessel, such as a blood clot, blocks the flow of blood to the brain. This causes the brain cells in the affected area to die quickly, resulting in functional impairments. A stroke can also be caused by bleeding on the brain. In addition to a headache, stroke can cause one-sided weakness or numbness, slurred speech, confusion, and walking difficulties.

Meningitis
The meninges are the layers of tissue that surround the brain and spinal cord. An infection of this tissue and of the cerebrospinal fluid is called meningitis. Meningitis is a medical emergency that may cause death within a matter of hours if left untreated. In addition to a headache, patients with meningitis may experience a high fever, very stiff, sore neck, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and seizures.

Riverside Community Hospital provides 24/7 Neurological Emergency Services, including specialized care for patients with stroke, brain aneurysm, and migraines. If you or a loved one is experiencing a serious medical emergency in Riverside, please call 911 immediately. If you have a non-emergent question about our hospital services, you can call (951) 788-3463 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

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