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Headache

When you have a headache, you want it gone. And if you get a lot of headaches, you want them to stop.

At UI Health, our staff of neurologists and other headache experts specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of tension, migraine, and cluster headaches, and all other forms of head or facial pain. When you choose us for your healthcare needs, you'll have access to a multidisciplinary team of the best headache doctors, in addition to physical therapists and dietitians specially trained in headache treatment. We are committed to finding relief for people whose lives are disrupted by debilitating headache pain.

Types of Headache We Treat

There are 24 different types of headaches, according to one national estimate that generously includes “hangover headache” in its list. Here are some of the most common types of headaches we see and treat at UI Health:

Migraine headaches: Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine headaches. Migraines cause severe pain, usually characterized by a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating on one side of the head. Nausea, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light and noise frequently accompany the pain. Some people experience a warning prior to the onset of a migraine called an "aura." Auras are neurological events that can include visual disturbances like flashing lights, skin sensations, and even difficulty with words. Migraine headaches can last a day or longer.

Tension headaches: As the name suggests, tension headaches are often related to temporary stress, anxiety, fatigue, or depression. The pain often starts in the back of your head or neck and can feel like a band tightening around your head. Tension headache pain may be caused at least in part by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp or jaw, or holding your head and neck in a stressful position for a long period of time.

Cluster headaches: Another well-named disorder, cluster headaches are called so because the attacks occur in groups and can go on for weeks or even months. Cluster headaches may be the most excruciating of all types of headache. The headaches usually come on suddenly and remain on one side of the head. They sometimes center on one eye, which can tear up and become bloodshot. The headaches can last for several hours and may occur daily or several times a day.

Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are not a neurological headaches but rather caused by infection and then blockage of the sinus ducts. The pain of a sinus headache usually centers on the nasal area and cheekbones. Since it's caused by infection, it can be accompanied by fever. It can be difficult to differentiate between a sinus headache and migraine or cluster headaches.

Temporal arteritis: This type of headache usually occurs in people age 50 and older. It’s a burning, jabbing pain caused by inflammation of the blood vessels that supply blood to the head, neck, upper body, and arms. Symptoms include a throbbing headache on one side or the back of the head, scalp tenderness, and jaw pain when chewing.

Tic Douloureux headaches: More common in women after age 55, this type of headache causes short, jabbing pain in areas around the mouth or jaw. When it occurs in younger people, it’s often related to a neurological disorder, such as multiple sclerosis.

Leading Experts in Headache Relief

Our neurologists and other headache specialists are skilled in diagnosing head and facial pain and knowledgeable about the latest available treatments.

Once a diagnosis is made, we will come up with a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan that focuses on pain relief and prevention.

We offer the most advanced headache treatment options available. Your treatment plan might include one or more of the following:

  • Preventive medication to reduce headache frequency and severity
  • Rescue medication to relieve headache pain
  • Injection therapy
  • Lifestyle changes to avoid headache triggers
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation training
  • Physical therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Oxygen therapy

When to See a Doctor for a Headache

Make an appointment with one of UI Health's headache specialists if you have frequent headaches, your headaches are severe, your headaches interfere with your daily life, you have a headache that doesn't go away, or the characteristics of your headaches change. We have the expertise and experience to find out what's wrong and give you relief.

To request an appointment, call the Neurology Clinic at 312.355.0510.