Headaches - Medical specialists

Here you will find medical experts in clinics and medical practices in the medical field Headaches. All listed physicians are specialists in their field and have been carefully selected for you according to strict guidelines.
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Headaches - Further information

In which specialist field are headache specialists active?

Your primary care doctor may not be able to deal with more complex types of headache. Though the condition itself is common enough, the cause of painful, recurring headaches may be diagnosed by a number of specialists in different fields, including:

  • a headache or migraine specialist, who may be qualified in neurology with a relevant specialism, or else they may operate within a dedicated headache clinic.
  • a neurologist is a physician specialising in disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. A neurology specialist can treat head and neck nerves, as well as diagnosing problems related to memory, balance, speech, thinking and language.
  • an ophthalmologist is an eye specialist who can diagnose headaches that are related to issues such as vision changes, light sensitivity or a range of eye disorders.
  • an otolaryngologist, or ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, can investigate headaches that may be caused by conditions such as sinus complaints.
  • an allergy specialist, whose focus is on diseases and conditions that cause asthma and allergic reactions, will be able to diagnose or rule out headache symptoms related to these causes.
  • an obstetrician/gynaecologist, who specialises in female disorders and diseases, especially the female reproductive systems, pregnancy and childbirth, will be able to investigate headaches that may be due to such causes.
  • a pain management specialist may be called upon to find ways to manage and reduce the pain caused by severe headaches.
  • a neuromuscular dentist can examine jaw and facial tissues, muscles, teeth, joints and nerves in the neck region in order to determine whether these areas are the cause of headache pain and discomfort.
  • a psychiatrist specialises in anxiety, depression and mental disorders and may be able to trace any links between these issues and a persistent headache.

Which illnesses do headache specialists treat?

Though there are at least 150 kinds of headache, the more common types include:

  • a tension headache, which can also be known as a stress headache, a chronic daily headache or a chronic non-progressive headache. This is the most common kind of headache suffered by adults and teens. The pain can be mild to moderate and may come and go over time.
  • a migraine, which is commonly reported as a pounding, throbbing pain, which can persist for anywhere from 4 hours to three days. People experience pain as well as light sensitivity, nausea or vomiting, appetite loss and stomach pain. A child suffering a migraine may look pale, feel dizzy and have blurred vision, fever and an upset stomach.
  • mixed headache syndrome, which can also be known as transformed migraines, is a combination of both migraine and tension headaches. These can affect children and adults alike.
  • cluster headaches, which cause a severe burning or piercing pain behind the eyes that is either constant or throbbing. Though not especially common, cluster headaches cause the most intense kind of headache. Many sufferers are unable to keep still and will pace around while they experience headache pain. Such headaches characteristically occur in groups (perhaps one to three times per day for two to 12 weeks).
  • a sinus headache, which causes a deep and constant pain in your forehead and cheekbones, or at the bridge of your nose. They occur when the sinus cavities in your head become inflamed. Headache pain is generally accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever and some facial swelling.
  • acute headaches, which occur in children, may start suddenly and disappear after a short while. These are typically caused by a sinus or respiratory infection.
  • hormonal headaches, which are experienced by some women, and are the result of changing hormone levels due to menstrual periods, pregnancy and the menopause. Some birth control pills can also trigger hormonal headaches.
  • chronic progressive headaches, which are also known as traction or inflammatory headaches. Though not particularly common, they tend to get worse and occur more frequently over time. They can be caused by an illness or disorder of the brain or skull.


What treatment methods are used by headache specialists?

Diagnosed secondary headaches will have some underlying cause, which will be the focus of treatment. Some of the methods used to manage and treat primary headaches include:

  • medication: Over-the-counter pain relief is suitable for mild headaches. More severe pain is managed via prescription medicines used to target specific kinds of headache.
  • behavioural therapies: Some techniques used to manage and reduce headache pain include massage, relaxation and meditation, as well as hot/cold compress treatments and rest in a darkened room.
  • lifestyle changes involving specific diets and exercise are also used to manage headaches.
  • complementary treatments, especially acupuncture, have also been shown to help manage and relieve headache pain.

What additional qualifications are required by headache specialists?

Most headache specialists will have a medical qualification in neurology. Although no standard certification recognises headache medicine as a subspecialty, various (mostly neurological) bodies have tried to address this situation with their own training and certification schemes. For example, the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties have a well-respected headache certification scheme.