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Last Updated: Apr 13, 2023

When To See A Specialist For Headache?

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Dr. Anjali KolhePain Management Specialist • 35 Years Exp.MD - Anaesthesiology, F.U.I.C.C.(Pain) Pain Management Specialist
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Everybody has experienced headaches at some time or other in their lives. It is the most common pain which one suffers from and usually goes away on its own without any treatment. In rare cases, this pain may be a sign of a serious medical condition and you need to see a specialist for headaches. Normally headaches which are moderate or severe in nature and are not responsive to over-the-counter pain relievers are a cause of concern.

However, here are some signs that can be warnings that should not be ignored:

  1. It occurs more than three times per month
  2. Headache with nausea and vomiting
  3. Headache with fever
  4. Headache with pain in the eye or ear
  5. Headache accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as seizures or change in vision, numbness, and difficulty with speech or weakness
  6. It awakens you from sleep
  7. A sudden headache that feels like explosion or thunderclap
  8. It causes confusion or loss of consciousness
  9. Headache after head injury
  10. Headaches beginning after the age of 50

The reason why you need to see a specialist in such cases is first to identify the cause of headache and then to get a pain management plan accordingly. The pain management specialist doctors have completed additional training and have additional certification in treating headaches. They may also work in a clinic dedicated to treating headaches. This empowers them to identify the cause of headache accurately. You might be surprised that headaches can be caused due to simple reason like dehydration or in some cases be an early sign of a life threatening brain tumor.

Pain management plans offered by the specialist
Depending on the signs and symptoms of your headache the pain management specialist will guide you if you have tension headaches, migraine headaches, or cluster headaches and treat it appropriately.

  1. Tension headache – These are the most common headaches caused due to the stress of day to day living and the specialist will mostly treat it with a prescription of over the counter pain medication and sometimes meditation too.
  2. Migraine headache - A person with a migraine headache has a more severe headache pain and may also experience sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. Hence along with medication the specialist will guide you to keep a journal of the possible triggers and help you eliminate them.
  3. Cluster headache - Cluster headaches typically occur on one side of the head and are quite rare. They are more painful and usually will not respond to over-the-counter medication. People with cluster headaches usually have to take medication every day to prevent their headaches, because they are difficult to stop once they have started and they are utterly incapacitating.

What the specialist will actually do for your headache depends not just on the type of headache but also its cause and severity. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!


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