Headache Treatment Options
Headache treatment begins with a thorough medical history that identifies the location, frequency, severity, duration and other characteristics of each type of headache experienced by the patient, as well as sleep patterns, family history and potential headache-provoking factors. A psychological assessment is used to screen for depression, anxiety and stress that sometimes accompany chronic pain disorders.
Patient evaluation continues with diagnostic testing or review of previous tests conducted by the referring physician. The patient participates in the evaluation process by maintaining a daily headache calendar. This is a record of headache severity, the amount of and types of analgesics used, the degree of relief obtained, and other factors such as diet and menstruation. Based on the total evaluation, the clinic staff plans an individualized treatment regimen.
There are two approaches to drug treatment for headache. One is to treat the acute episodes of headache with a prescription medication which will relieve the head pain and associated symptoms like nausea, vomiting, difficulty with bright light, difficulty with noise and improve the disability caused by a headache attack. These medications are referred to as abortive headache agents. Preventive medications, which are oral pills that are taken daily, help to reduce the frequency and severity of headache.
A lifestyle modification component involves education in the areas of diet, recreation, sleep patterns and other habits linked to headaches.
Some patients will benefit from a biofeedback training component, which is especially appropriate for patients in whom stress is a major contributing factor to headaches, for those who cannot tolerate additional medication, and for pregnant patients and others who wish to avoid medication.
Injection Treatments for Acute Headaches
In addition to offering oral medications to manage headache symptoms, Morton Plant Mease offers several leading medical treatments that have been proven to prevent or reduce painful conditions brought on by migraine, sinus, tension and other forms of headaches.
These treatments include occipital nerve blocks and trigger point injections. Botox® injections are also available and have been proven useful for some patients. In some cases, hospital-based treatment may be required.
Occipital nerve block is a medical procedure that involves administration of a local anesthetic and cortisone in an area that is known to act as a trigger for headaches.
Trigger point injections are a useful adjunct to headache management in selected patients where a specific trigger point generates pain.
Hospitalization Is Sometimes Necessary
Hospitalization is sometimes recommended for patients whose condition has been unresponsive to extensive outpatient care and those who need to detoxify from overuse of certain prescription drugs or to break a migraine that has been unresponsive to outpatient management.
For information about our headache treatments, please call (727) 461-8635.
The Neurosciences Institute
at Ptak Orthopaedic & Neuroscience Pavilion
430 Morton Plant Street
Clearwater, FL 33756