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When Should I See a Headache Specialist?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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A headache specialist is a-medical doctor with expertise in the brain and problems with brain functions. There are four situations when you should see a headache specialist: cluster type migraine headaches, post concussion headaches, headaches with vision problems, or long-lasting headaches. It is important to distinguish between a regular headache and one that requires medical attention.

A regular, stress, or tension headache is a common occurrence in adults and children. The sensation of pressure begins slowly and can be attributed to stressful situations, hunger or exhaustion. These types of headaches are annoying, but are not debilitating. Deep breathing, relaxation techniques, sleep or over the counter headache remedies typically cure this type of headache within two to three hours.

A cluster-type migraine has a sudden onset, sharp pain behind the eyes, nausea, and sensitivity to noise. This type of headache is quite debilitating and does not improve with over the counter medication. Visit a headache specialist to determine your personal triggers, how to manage this type of headache and prescription medication available.

A post-concussion headache occurs within 12 hours of a head injury. The presence of a headache after an impact can be an indicator of internal damage. It is important to consult a doctor immediately. A concussion occurs when there is damage to the brain caused by a trauma or impact. Never take over-the-counter medication for a post-concussion headache.

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Any headache that affects your vision should result in a visit to a headache specialist. Sudden changes in vision, blurriness or loss of vision combined with a headache are considered a medical emergency and require immediate assistance. The brain is a very complex organ and special equipment and skills are required to diagnose and treat problems from the brain.

A headache that lasts for more than 48 hours and is not relieved by sleep, simple food or over-the-counter medication is an indicator of a more serious health issue. See a doctor and provide them with details about when the headache started and what steps you have taken to treat it. Pay special attention to any medication that you are taking and provide it to the doctor. This information is critical getting the correct diagnoses and treatment for your headache.

When meeting with a headache specialist, it is very important to provide an accurate and complete history of the headaches. List all the medications that you have taken, as well as any herbal remedies. This information provides valuable insight and may highlight a medication related cause of your headaches.

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burcinc
Post 3

I'm seeing a headache specialist for cluster headaches and she is just wonderful. She has helped me identify my headache triggers and we have been discussing various treatment options. After years, I'm finally on a treatment regimen that's helping. I've never worked with a doctor who was this knowledgeable about headaches and who was patient enough to see me week after week.

My doctor works at a headache clinic and I see her almost every week. Even when I don't go in, I can call her and ask her for advice on medication dose, etc.

burcidi
Post 2

@turkay1-- That's a good question. If the headaches are chronic and very debilitating, you can see a headache specialist. But since you said that the cause is hormonal, you should probably see a gynecologist first and have hormonal tests done. If the cause of your headaches is a hormonal imbalance, it will be treated by a gynecologist rather than a headache specialist.

Headache specialists usually deal with very severe, chronic headaches where the underlying cause cannot be identified or treated.

candyquilt
Post 1

Is a headache or migraine specialist the right person to see for hormonal headaches? I get severe headaches every month before menstruation. It's affecting my life negatively because I can't function or work when I get these headaches.

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