The treatment of headache disorders presents unique challenges. Headaches can be due to harmless hereditary causes or they can be the symptoms of dangerous underlying conditions. We begin with first making the correct diagnosis. Once the dangerous causes of headache are ruled out, we need to place the headache symptoms into one or more of the fifty diagnostic categories which we use to classify headache and facial pain disorders.
The objective of the treatment plan is to return the patient to a good quality of life as soon as possible. It is very important that the treatment plan not produce side effects which can also detract from the quality of life, such as over sedation or addiction.
It is important to avoid the piling on of excessive medications. Many patients have coexisting medical problems, such as hypertension, depression, insomnia and other conditions which may have overlapping treatments. We try hard to arrive at a treatment plan which can treat as many conditions as possible with the lowest number of medications.
Medication is not the only method used to treat headaches. We commonly use counselling, physical therapy and medical devices. Lifestyle changes are important, especially relating to stress management, mealtimes and sleeping patterns.