Have you recently been treated by a doctor for a headache? Are you currently taking prescription medication for occasional or frequent headaches? You are not alone. You are one of the more than 12,000 State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program members that has either seen a doctor or has taken prescription drugs for headaches in the last year.   

Impact of Headaches 

According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, 18% of us will suffer from a migraine at some point in our lives and at least 13% of us have suffered from one in the last year. Women are 2-3 times more likely than men to get migraines. The Migraine Research Foundation reports that about 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines and up to 28% of adolescents between ages 15-19 are affected by them. 

WebMD reports that according to one study, 11% of migraines result in a full day of work lost, 5% result in being late to work, and 12% lead to leaving work early. For those that stay at work with migraines, researchers estimate a 25% drop in productivity while suffering from migraines. Headaches can also make it hard to engage with your family and make the most of your personal life.

When to Seek Care

Usually headaches are not an emergency, but sometimes they are. Seek emergency care if you have: 

  • A very severe, sudden headache 

  • Headache after a head injury or fall 

  • Headache with fever, stiff neck, rash, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking 

  • Pain that gets worse despite treatment  

These symptoms suggest something more serious may be going on and you should get prompt diagnosis and treatment.

If you are having a severe headache that lasts for several days, does not respond to treatment, and it’s not an emergency, visiting your primary care provider, using your plan’s telehealth service or visiting an urgent care may be a better experience than visiting an emergency room.