Headaches and Migraines

Comprehensive Diagnosis and Treatment for Headaches and Migraines

Loyola Medicine is recognized for its comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and clinical research of headaches and migraines, which can be life-altering. Approximately 45 million people in the United States experience chronic headaches—of those, 28 million suffer from migraine headaches. About 20 percent of children and teens experience headaches, and women tend to suffer more headaches than men.

There are several types of headaches we treat at Loyola:

  • Tension headache, which is most common 
  • Chronic daily headache (CDH)
  • Chronic migraine
  • Cluster headache
  • Ice cream headache
  • Low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure headache
  • Medication overuse headache (MOH) 
  • Migraine headache
  • Primary exertion headache
  • Primary stabbing headache
  • Rebound headache
  • Secondary headache
  • Sinus headache
  • Vascular headache

Loyola’s compassionate team understands that headaches and migraines can be life-changing—not only for the patient, but also for family members. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. 

Why Choose Loyola for Headache and Migraine Treatment?

Loyola's neurology and neurosurgery departments are nationally recognized for providing exceptional care in an academic setting, training future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery.

 

What are the Symptoms of Headaches and Migraines?

The common symptom of both headaches and migraines is pain. People who suffer migraines usually have one parent who experienced them as well.  

Migraines are different from headaches in that people often experience a sense, or aura, of a migraine before it begins. Other symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling very warm or cold
  • Flashing dots or lights, or blind spots in your vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paleness
  • Sensory disturbance, such as a noise, odor or light sensitivity
  • Severe fatigue
  • Throbbing sensation and pounding or severe pain, which tends to start on one side but can spread to the other
  • Vomiting or nausea, queasy stomach or pain in your abdomen

When to Seek Medical Attention for Headaches

Headaches are your body’s way of sending a message that something is off. They also can accompany a cold, a fever, the flu or premenstrual symptoms.  You should seek medical attention if:

  • A sudden headache occurs along with slurred speech, mental confusion, blurred vision, balance problems or problems moving an arm or leg on one side of your body; in this case, call 911
     
  • A headache comes on with a stiff neck or neck pain, fever, vomiting or nausea; in this case, go to the emergency department
     
  • You experience a headache after a head injury; if so, go to the emergency department
     
  • A headache is intense and feels like it is in one eye, with redness in that eye
     
  • You experience a thunderclap headache
     
  • This is your first headache and it’s interrupting your daily activities
     
  • This is the worst headache you’ve ever had
     
  • You are 50 or older and just started getting headaches
     
  • The headache gets worse after 24 hours
     
  • Your headache occurs with vision problems, you feel pain while chewing or you recently experienced weight loss
     
  • You have a history of cancer

How are Headaches and Migraines Diagnosed?

Your Loyola doctor will ask you about your family and medical history and conduct a thorough examination. Your doctor may order testing such as a CT scan (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) in order to better understand your condition.

What are the Treatment Options for Headaches and Migraines?

Your treatment for headaches and migraines may include medication, education, counseling, stress management or biofeedback. For many people, keeping a headache diary to track patterns and triggers can be helpful.

At Loyola, we understand how disruptive headaches and migraines can be. Specialists at our headache and migraine clinic will use a multidisciplinary approach to help you return to a life free of this pain. Your dedicated pain management team may include neurologists, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine doctors and otolaryngologists, also known as ear, nose and throat doctors. Loyola’s staff will provide seamless communication with you and your primary care physician about your individualized medical action plan.

Ongoing Research and Clinical Trials of Headaches and Migraines

As an academic medical center, Loyola Medicine is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new medications and protocols. Loyola’s patients benefit from our ongoing research; read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.