Comprehensive Care for Head & Face Pain
The comprehensive services offered at the Headache & Facial Pain Program include accurate diagnosis of your condition, education about your headache and facial pain disorders, identification of headache and pain triggers, and the development of a treatment plan for managing the problem.
At your first appointment, our neurologists will ask about your headache or facial pain history and symptoms, focusing on the frequency, intensity, duration, location, and any known triggers. Your doctor also conducts a comprehensive review of your medical history and family history of headache and performs a physical exam to obtain a complete picture of your health. To help the doctor make a more accurate diagnosis, bring to your appointment past medical records, including imaging scans and reports, and any lab studies you might have had.
Depending on your symptoms and the results of your medical examination, your physician may recommend further diagnostic testing. Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis.
- Neurological examination: A neurological examination may include an evaluation of your mental status, motor strength, vision, and reflex testing. Your doctor may also assess the function of the nerves connected to the brainstem—the cranial nerves—by testing for sensation in the face, checking your hearing and eye movements, asking you to swallow or say “ahh,” and observing your ability to move your head, neck, and shoulders. Your doctor may test your vision and look for any signs of increased pressure in your head. Your reflexes may also be checked to see whether the headaches are caused by a rarer problem, such as a brain tumor or blood clot in the brain, or to rule out the possibility that another condition may be causing your symptoms.
- Blood tests and urinalysis: These tests are used to determine other medical conditions — including diabetes, thyroid problems and infections — that can cause headaches.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: X-rays and computers are used to produce images of a cross-section of the body. A CT scan of the head might be recommended if you are getting daily or almost daily headaches to help rule out other causes of headaches.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI uses magnetic waves and computers to create two- or three-dimensional images. Your doctor may order an MRI scan if you are getting daily or almost daily headaches to view the inside of the head and neck. This can reveal the presence of other conditions that can cause headaches, such as a tumor or abscess, which is a collection of pus that has formed in response to an infection. Sometimes, MRI scans of the neck are used to identify problems with the cervical spine—the bones in the neck—that may be triggering headaches.
- Ophthalmology evaluation: An eye pressure test performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) can help rule out glaucoma or pressure on the optic nerve as causes of headaches.
We believe in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to headache and facial pain treatment. This means we utilize any and every resource in a personalized, long-term plan for treating your condition and symptoms and relieving your pain.
Our experts may draw on the experienced resources of rehabilitation medicine, pain management, physical therapy, neuropsychology, ophthalmology, sleep medicine, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, general dentistry/oral surgery, ENT, and behavioral health to craft a tailored and complete treatment approach to address persistent headaches and facial pain, regardless of their cause.
Our multidisciplinary approach can include a wide range of treatments, such as: