For many people, headaches are an ongoing problem that seriously impacts their lives. Migraine headaches are the most common type of disabling headache. If you are suffering from migraines, you know that they are extremely disruptive. In fact, migraines are a leading cause of missed workdays and lost productivity.
Headaches can be more than just painful—they can also be indicators of even more serious conditions. If you suffer from frequent headaches, you should seek medical attention.
A Specialized Approach to Headaches
Headache syndromes often come with other issues, such as mood disorders, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. As a result, our specialists take a collaborative approach to headaches, in order to deliver an accurate diagnosis and begin individualized treatment right away.
While headaches may stem from a harmless problem, they can also be signs of a life-threatening disorder. That’s why our doctors take special care to give each patient a thorough and thoughtful examination. We understand that headaches and migraines can be extremely painful and disruptive to your life. That’s why we do everything we can to diagnose and treat your symptoms.
We offer treatment for a variety of headache conditions, including:
- Tension headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Cranial neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia
- Headaches caused by underlying structural problems, brain tumors, spine tumors, meningitis, or a brain injury
We encourage you to keep a headache diary/journal. This will help us to monitor your conditions and make treatment recommendations.
A tension headache is often felt on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of the head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing. Your shoulders, neck or jaw may feel tight and sore. The headache pain is usually persistent, but does not get worse with activity.
A migraine headache is a severe type of headache that usually occurs with other symptoms, such as visual disturbances or nausea. The pain may be described as throbbing, pounding or pulsating. It tends to begin on one side of the head, although it may spread to both sides. Some patients experience a group of warning symptoms that start before the headache. This group of symptoms is referred to as an “aura.” The headache pain usually gets worse with movement.
Expert Diagnosis of Headaches
Care begins with a thorough assessment of your medical history and previous treatments, along with an evaluation for other conditions. Because headache sufferers often must cope with unusual amounts of stress, depression, and anxiety, a psychological evaluation may be given.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
- Head CT scan
- Head MRI
- Sinuses X-rays
- Temporal artery biopsy
- Lumbar puncture
How Can I Prevent Headaches?
The following healthy habits can lessen stress and reduce your chance of getting a headache:
- Adequate sleep
- A healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Stretching your neck and upper body, especially if your work involves typing or using a computer
- Proper posture
- Not smoking
- Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or other relaxation techniques
- Wearing proper eyeglasses, if needed
Advanced Headache Treatment at Sentara
At Sentara, you will meet with a neurologist who will work together with you to coordinate your care. Your personalized treatment plan may include:
- Botox injections
- Cognitive behavioral treatment
- Emerging surgical treatments
- Facet and epidural blocks
- Nerve blocks
- Nutritional counseling
- Nerve stimulation
- Physical therapy