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What Type of Doctor Should I See for Headaches?

Last updated on October 13th, 2022 at 12:48 pm

If you’re wondering “what type of doctor should I see for headaches?” then this post is for you. Come take a look to find out about the help you need…

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Individuals who are not able to find a proper treatment plan for managing their headaches must seek the guidance of an expert. Usually, symptoms of primary headaches are treated by a neurologist but based on the cause the patient might need to consult a different kind of doctor. 

Neurologist for headaches

Patients suffering from migraine headaches along with other symptoms that have a severe impact on their life must consult a neurologist. They must get an appointment with a neurologist if the headache pain continues for more than 2 days.

What neurological problems cause headaches?

People usually get different types of headaches from time to time. But those that have a headache for extended periods of the day might be suffering from a chronic daily headache.

Instead of a particular headache type, sinus headaches can be due to different reasons. Chronic defines the frequency of the headache and its duration. 

The constant nature of chronic headaches makes them the most painful condition. Patients require initial treatment from a headache specialist followed by steady long-term management to relieve the pain.

Cause of chronic headache includes the following:

  • Excessively high or low intracranial pressure
  • Development of brain tumor
  • Severe head injury
  • Chronic tension-type headache
  • Inflammation of blood vessels in and around the brain

Keep away from prolonged medication

Taking headache medication and over-the-counter medication twice a week is helpful, but over-the-counter medication can increase severity. It is best to consult with a doctor to reduce medication and its harmful side effects.

Keep track of the triggers

Patients can keep a headache diary to determine the triggers. Events like when the headache start and activities can help in long-term preventive treatment.

Regular exercising

Regular aerobic physical activity helps improve physical and mental well-being. One must consult a doctor and select relaxation techniques that one enjoys.

Keep stress low

Stress is a major trigger of chronic headaches. Simplifying everyday schedules and proper planning can help stay positive and reduce stress. 

what type of doctor should I see for headaches

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What happens at the first neurologist appointment for migraines?

When visiting a neurologist for migraine the patient needs to describe the symptoms clearly. If migraine is the cause then treatment options are recommended based on the symptoms. 

Preparing for the first visit with a headache specialist

Before visiting a specialist the patient must be able to describe the cause of your headaches clearly to the doctor. For this applying the what, when, where, why, and how strategy is useful.

  • Who 

If any other family members have similar headache symptoms the doctor will be able to diagnose the condition better.

  • What

What the headache feels like is an important aspect of the accurate diagnosis. The intensity and type of pain vary from person to person.

  • Where 

Whether the pain is on one side or happens on both sides. The location of the severe pain is necessary for determining the underlying cause.

  • Why 

Determining the cause of headaches is vital for the treatment. People can have a headache at different times of the day which indicates a potential trigger.

  • How

How long the headache persists and its intensity is another important red flag. Doctors try and understand the severity to prepare an effective treatment plan.

Neurologist for headaches near me

For chronic headaches, it is best to consult with a specialist for effective treatment. Primary care physicians can help relieve headaches but for chronic conditions consulting a headache specialist is the best option.

The primary care doctor is an excellent starting point for headache treatment. However, in situations where the pain becomes chronic and does not respond to treatment patients may need the help of a neurologist.

 But for those experiencing cluster headaches from time to time using medication is necessary. Individuals that have a history of headaches in the family may not get relief from over-the-counter drugs.

If the condition starts getting worsen with time then the patient needs to add botox injections to the treatment plan. Further tests are likely necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Headache specialist vs neurologist

A headache or migraine specialist is a neurologist that primarily focuses on headaches and migraine. They receive the necessary qualifications for the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders.

A neurologist is a doctor specializing in the treatment of diseases related to the spinal cord, muscles, nurse, and brain. Neurological conditions comprise head injuries, Parkinson’s disease, migraine, epilepsy, MS, etc. 

Medication overuse headache specialists are aware of the evolving treatments for migraine. Most importantly they can recommend an effective treatment plan based on the medical history and health condition of an individual.

What can a neurologist do for tension headaches?

If the neurologist discovers that the cause of pain is migraine they will recommend a treatment to stop the symptoms. Typically doctors take a two-stage approach for migraine medication.

In 99% of cases, the diagnosis to find out the underlying cause is based on the headache history. Tension headaches are usually moderate pain that patients described as a feeling of wearing a tight band around the head. 

An effective tension-type headache treatment combines healthy habits, the use of non-drug treatment, and proper medications. It is difficult to distinguish a tension-type headache from a migraine.

It is best to see an expert if the pain has a disrupting effect on everyday life. Patients may also experience increased sensitivity to sound or light. Neurologist recommends a long-term treatment plan to help patients get relief from frequent headaches.

Neurologist for headaches and neck pain

Every type of headache and neck pain is unique with different degrees of problem. Neurologists receive special training to diagnose the injuries to proper treatment.

In some cases, there can be accounts collected in the assessment of the patient. Neurologists receive special training to address problems associated with a headache on neck pain. 

They usually have a long-term connection with the patients and help them lead healthy lives.

what type of doctor should I see for headaches

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What are the symptoms of nerve damage in the neck?

Nerve damage in the neck is also known as cervical radiculopathy. It is a condition where a patient experiences radiating pain or numbness in the neck.

The nerve roots get compressed in the neck leading to a feeling of numbness or radiating pain. Most cases of nerve damage in the neck can be treated with non-surgical treatment.

The condition can affect anyone but is usually found in adults. Patients suffering from herniated discs have increased chances of cervical radiculopathy.

Senior individuals are also susceptible to cervical radiculopathy. Arthritis causes foraminal narrowing and results in the punching of spinal nerve roots. 

Neurological symptoms caused by surgical radiculopathy can affect the neck along with the body parts the nerve connects. Depending on the body parts it usually affects one side of the body. 

  • Symptoms include
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Weak reflexes
  • Muscle weakness

The condition has different effects on different people. Patients might get any combination of the above neurological symptoms or only one. 

what type of doctor should I see for headaches

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FAQ relating to what type of doctor to see for headaches:

Which doctor is best for headache treatment?

Patients suffering from migraine or having a family history of migraine doctors trained in treating headaches can help diagnose the condition. The treatment plan is mostly based on the medical history, following symptoms, and physical and neurological tests.

If the condition is unusual or complex the doctors may take a different approach to the treatment. Sometimes a computerized tomography or MRI is recommended to get clear images of the brain and surrounding blood vessels.

Migraine most common type of headache and proper treatment is necessary to prevent the symptoms and future occurrences. A wide range of medications is now available for the treatment of migraine. 

Some patients might need pain-relieving medication commonly known as an abortive treatment. These drugs are administered during the migraine attack. 

Patients take preventive medication regularly to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine. The choice of treatment is dependent on the intensity and frequency of the headache. 

What does a neurologist do for headaches?

A patient may have to consult with a neurologist if the headache is on one side of the head. Symptoms like sensitivity to sound and light, vomiting, and nausea indicate a serious condition. 

The neurologist is likely to recommend a treatment plan to reduce the symptoms. It will help prevent the condition from coming back. 

A neurological exam may be conducted to check the motor and sensory reflexes, coordination, hearing and speech, balance, and vision. 

When should you go to the doctor for a headache?

A person must get immediate medical attention if a headache occurs suddenly and quickly becomes severe. It is critical to consult a doctor immediately because they can have a severe impact on the medical conditions

Some people have chronic headaches that affect their everyday activities. Severe headache occurs due to interactions between the nervous system, blood vessels, and muscles around the head. 

Headache disorders can be caused due to poor sleep, high blood pressure, alcohol consumption, poor posture, etc. One must never delay consulting an expert if they start experiencing a chronic or secondary headache.

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