|Headache & Migraine|
Headache or Migraine? Head Here to Renown Institute for Neurosciences
Doctors, nurses and technicians trained specifically in the field of headache medicine, provide each patient with a specific diagnosis and a management plan that is tailored to their particular needs to help reduce the frequency and severity of debilitating headaches and enjoy a better quality of life.
We participate in clinical research to ensure patients in the region have access to promising new therapies and treatments. We've assisted in the development of therapies for the acute and chronic treatment of migraine such as injectable and oral sumatriptan (Imitrex and Sumavel), topiramate (Topamax) and onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox®).
We are committed to providing leading-edge treatment options for persons suffering from chronic headaches and migraine.
A migraine is a severe, debilitating headache often accompanied by symptoms other than head pain, including lightheadedness, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, and visual disturbances. Migraine account for 87 percent of all headaches, and the World Health Organization reports that 18 percent of U.S. women and 8 percent of U.S. men suffer from migraine headaches. Some types of migraine headaches include:
- Abdominal migraine
- Basilar-type migraine
- Cyclic migraine syndrome
- Familial hemiplegic migraine and sporadic hemiplegic migraine
- Gastric stasis migraine
- Menstrual migraine and menstrual-related migraine
- Ocular migraine
- Retinal migraine
- Seasonal migraines
- Silent (also known as acephalgic) migraine
- Sinus migraine
- Stress migraine
- Tension migraine
To learn more about clinical trials currently enrolling patients at the Institute for Neurosciences, call 775-982-2970.
Chronic migraine headache patients are described as people who experience headaches 15 or more days per month, each one lasting 4 to 72 hours and accompanied by nausea or light or sound sensitivity. There are two primary treatment options for chronic migraine: traditional oral medications and newer injection-based therapies.
There is no specific test to determine if a headache is a migraine. A doctor simply evaluates a patient's symptoms and rules out the types of headaches that don't fit, which is why it's helpful to write down noteworthy information to share with the doctor.
A doctor may diagnose migraine without aura when patients have had five or more headaches with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Headache pain lasting four to 72 hours
- Pain on one side of the head
- Throbbing pain
- Pain intense enough to disrupt the patient's daily activities
- Pain that gets worse with physical activity
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Light sensitivity
Patients may receive a migraine with aura diagnosis if they experience vision changes in addition to the above symptoms.
- Seeing flashes or flickers of light
- Seeing wavy or zig-zagging lines
- Seeing stars, spots, circles, halos, lines, shapes or colors
- Seeing 3D effects or other vision changes
- Seeing dark areas
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Loss of vision
A doctor may diagnose migraine with sensory aura if patients feel numbness or tingling; pins and needles; or odd sensations in the face, tongue, hands, arms, legs, feet or across the entire body.
Migraine treatment options include:
- Prescription drugs to address conditions that contribute to the onset of migraine
- Over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and other symptoms
- Natural remedies and therapies including diet, exercise and meditation
Patients who suspect they suffer from migraines should record the symptoms, duration, and severity of headaches, and find a doctor who specializes in treating migraines. To learn more about treatment options for migraine headaches, please call 775-982-2970.
At their initial visit, patients are asked to provide the following information:
- When did headaches begin to interfere with routine daily activities? (As a young teenager? During a pregnancy? Last summer? Yesterday?)
- How often are headaches experienced, and how often are those headaches severe enough to interfere with routine activities?
- How could the headaches be characterized? What is the typical duration, intensity and location of pain, and what additional symptoms (if any) are experienced (nausea, light/sound sensitivity, tearing, runny nose, etc.)?
- Has there been any recent change in the character or frequency of headaches? If so, how have they changed?
- Have any medications been used in the past to prevent the headaches or treat them as they occurred? What was the response to those medications?
- Have any diagnostic tests confirmed a headache diagnosis. Diagnostic tests could include brain computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, spinal tap and/or brain angiogram.
- Record, including dose and frequency, of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines taken for headaches.
- Medical History
Items to bring to an initial appointment:
- Headache diary
- Headache questionnaire
- Relevant medical records
- List of current medications and doses
- Copies of any reports of brain scans or brain angiograms you have undergone in the past
- Copies of any discharge summaries from headache-related hospitalizations
These questions can also help facilitate a discussion with a doctor:
- Do I need to be on preventive medication for my headaches?
- What can I use for an acute headache if I'm too nauseated to swallow a pill?
- What are the common side effects of any new medication prescribed?
- What non-medicinal strategies should I pursue to improve control of my headaches?
- What is safe for me to take for my headaches if I am attempting to become pregnant?