Treatment & Services

Nurse consulting with patient

 

The specialists at the UC Headache and Facial Pain Center can assess, diagnose and treat headaches and facial pain using the most advanced knowledge and techniques.

Often patients seek the expertise at UC Health after they have been misdiagnosed or continue to have symptoms after treatment. This unique program makes it easy to access the best, most skilled experts to solve painful, persistent headaches.

Our program looks at the whole body to uncover underlying conditions. Multiple factors may be contributing to pain. Often, there is not just one answer for a patient.

 

Comprehensive Diagnosis

Physicians at UC Health specialize in uncovering headache causes and triggers. Our specialists look at the whole body to uncover underlying conditions. Diagnostic tests that may be used to confirm a diagnosis include:

  • Blood tests
  • MRI
  • Sinus X-rays
  • CT scan or computed tomography scan
  • Spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture)

 

Treatment Options

Patients will work with a diverse group of physicians, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, headache specialists, dental specialists and more. Together, the team provides unique treatments personalized to the individual patient, including:

  • Preventative medications
  • Onabotulinum toxin A (Botox)
  • Headache-specific physical therapy
  • Infusions of medications to break headache cycles – both inpatient and outpatient
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques to manage stress
  • Trigger factor avoidance
  • Headache diets

Procedures, such as:

  • Interventional neuroradiology procedures, such as epidural blood patching and myelograms
  • Interventional headache management, such as nerve blocks and nerve stimulators
  • Procedures for trigeminal neuralgia, such as microvascular decompression
  • Neurectomy (cutting a nerve) or decompression of the nerve
  • Surgeries of the nose, sinuses and skull base
  • Acupuncture and other alternative therapies

 

When to Get Help

Occasional headaches are not unusual, and dealing with them does not always require a trip to the doctor. However, it’s important to seek medical help when headaches become more frequent, interfere with life quality and functioning, or are accompanied by other symptoms that may indicate a more serious underlying problem.

These headache symptoms require immediate medical care:

  • A sudden, new, severe headache
  • A headache with neurological symptoms like weakness, dizziness, loss of balance or falling, numbness or tingling, mental confusion, seizures or vision changes
  • Headache with a fever, stiff neck or weight loss
  • Worsening headache after a head injury or accident
  • A new type of headache after 50 years of age

Have these symptoms? Schedule an appointment with a headache physician:

  • Two or more headaches per week
  • Headaches that keep getting worse and won’t go away
  • The need to take pain relievers more than 2 days per week
  • Headaches triggered by exertion, coughing, bending or strenuous activity
  • A change in headache symptoms after a history of headaches
  • Headaches that worsen with standing up or lying down

 

How to Find Relief

The specialists at the UC Headache and Facial Pain Center can provide expert diagnosis and cutting-edge treatment for those suffering from many painful conditions. But there are lots of ways to prevent and lessen occasional headaches and other facial pain, or help medical interventions be more effective.

 

Home Treatment for a Headache

For the occasional headache that does not need immediate medical attention, these methods may bring relief:

  • Take an over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but limit their use to less than two days per week
  • Use an icepack on the forehead, eyes, temples or back of the neck
  • Take a warm bath or shower to relieve tension
  • Rest in a quiet, darkened room
  • Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization

 

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Pain

A healthy lifestyle can help prevent or lessen headaches and facial pain issues. Consider these measures:

  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least three to four times a week. Any aerobic exercise slows your heart rate and releases painkilling chemicals in the brain.
  • Keep a headache diary to determine foods and conditions that trigger migraines.
  • Avoid foods associated with the onset of headaches, which vary from person to person.
  • Avoid overusing medication, which can cause “rebound” headaches.
  • Limit caffeine.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Have eyes checked.
  • Have dental checkups.
  • Keep diabetes in control.
  • Avoid allergens, substances that irritate allergies

 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Reducing tension and stress can help people with migraines, tension headaches and facial pain conditions to cope with pain and even avoid attacks. These therapies may provide benefits:

The specialists at the UC Health Headache and Facial Pain Center can advise patients on the most effective complementary therapies to provide relief, along with medical treatment.

Explore the UC Headache and Facial Pain Center