Headache emergencies

Deena M. Nasr, Sherri A. Braksick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Headache is a common complaint in the emergency department. Although the most common causes of headaches are benign, the differential diagnosis is vast and can include potentially catastrophic neurologic etiologies. It is important to identify those with high risk of having a secondary headache in order to expedite further workup and management thereby reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality. The most important information regarding a headache comes from the patient’s history and physical examination. History alone can help you discern if it is most likely a primary benign headache or concerning secondary headache syndrome. Most emergencies presenting with headaches can be ruled out with a CT of the head and/or a lumbar puncture with CSF investigations. However, a thorough history and examination will aid in forming a differential diagnosis and help fine-tune ongoing investigations and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurological Emergencies
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Approach
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030280727
ISBN (Print)9783030280710
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Brain tumor
  • Cerebral vasoconstriction
  • Cerebral venous thrombosis
  • Cervical arterial dissection
  • Cluster headache
  • Colloid cyst
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Migraine
  • Pituitary apoplexy
  • Thunderclap headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Headache emergencies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this