Did you know that around 25% of the Indian population suffers from migraines?
While most headaches are easily curable through home remedies (such as resting, relaxation techniques, and eating a proper diet), some headaches are a result of problems related to your nerves and spine.
The best way to know the cause of your headache is by visiting a doctor who specializes in dealing with them.
In this article, we’ll explore which doctors you can visit to cure your headache, the causes of different types of headaches, and what you need to know before choosing a doctor.
Doctors Who Can Treat Headaches
Here are four kinds of specialists who can treat your headache.
1. General Practitioners (GP)
Your GP is the first point of contact for headaches and headache-related symptoms.
They’ll usually check your medical history, ask questions about your current lifestyle, perform a few simple tests..
For treatment, GPs will prescribe you over-the-counter medications (like pain relievers) or refer you to a specialist in case you need further treatment.
Neurologists are doctors who specialize in disorders in the nervous system.
They may use tests like MRIs and other brain imaging scans to figure out the source of your headache.
Based on their findings, neurologists may prescribe preventative or acute medications and suggest lifestyle changes to manage your headache.
3. ENT Specialists
ENT specialists (also called otolaryngologists) diagnose headaches through physical examinations, including a detailed examination of your ears, nose, and throat. They may also use tests like CT scans or MRIs to rule out infections like sinusitis or other ENT-related problems.
ENT specialists may treat your headaches through medications for infections, like nasal sprays, or even surgical interventions.
Depending on the diagnosis, they may prescribe eye drops, corrective lenses, or in rare cases, recommend eye surgery.
What Are the Causes of Headaches?
Common causes of headaches include the following:
- Illness: These include colds, fevers, and infections.
- Stress: Emotional stress, depression, and stress from irregular sleep patterns, alcohol overconsumption, and medication.
- Environment: Allergens, second-hand smoke, certain foods, and changes in weather.
- Genetics: Family history of migraines.
When Should You Visit a Doctor for a Headache?
You should visit a doctor for a headache when it seriously affects your sleep and quality of life. If a headache affects your ability to perform your day-to-day activities, work, and sleep patterns, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Tests to Diagnose Your Headache
Doctors use the following tests to diagnose your headache:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): While an MRI can’t directly diagnose your headache, it can rule out other factors that could cause headaches (like brain tumours).
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: CT scans diagnose headaches by giving doctors images of the brain. Like MRIs, they rule out certain causes of headaches.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): ESRs detect inflammation in the body, which could indicate conditions like temporal arteritis or systemic lupus erythematosus that can cause severe headaches.
- Digital subtraction angiography: This test involves injecting a dye into the blood vessels and taking an X-ray, which helps identify blood abnormalities that cause headaches.
- Spinal tap: In this test, doctors extract and analyze cerebrospinal fluid, which indicates the presence of headache-causing conditions like meningitis or subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Treatment Options for Different Types of Headaches
Here are five different types of headaches and treatment options for each of them.
1. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are a common type of headache characterized by mild to moderate pain and pressure around the head.
Treatment includes rest, relaxation techniques, over-the-counter pain relievers, and stress management techniques.
A migraine is a recurring headache that brings on intense throbbing pain. It’s often accompanied by other symptoms, like nausea and sensitivity to light or sound.
3. Sinus Headaches
A sinus headache is a result of congestion or inflammation of your sinuses. This kind of headache is characterized by pain and pressure around your eyes, forehead, and cheeks.
You can treat a sinus headache by taking saline nasal sprays, using decongestants, taking pain relievers, and applying warm compresses to the area of pain.
4. Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are a cyclical pattern of severe headaches often accompanied by pain on one side of the head and symptoms like nasal congestion, eye redness, and restlessness.
You can treat them by taking prescription medications, oxygen therapy, and making healthy lifestyle choices recommended by your doctor.
5. Rebound Headaches
Rebound headaches (aka medication-overuse headaches) are a result of overusing pain medication for headaches.
The best form of treatment is discontinuing the offending medication and using other headache-curing remedies (like lifestyle changes, getting sleep, relaxation techniques, etc).
5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Doctor to Treat Headaches
Here are five things to consider when choosing a doctor to treat your headache:
- Experience: While headache cases are a dime-a-dozen, it doesn’t make individual cases less serious. Choosing a doctor who has over 5–7 years of treating headaches will increase your chances of finding a treatment option that best suits your specific symptoms.
- Specialization: Based on your GP’s recommendation, you’ll need to scout for doctors who specialize in their respective fields (like neurology or pain management). This requires having a clear understanding of your symptoms.
- Communication: Choose a doctor who is known for their patience and communication skills. Without this, you run the risk of either miscommunicating your symptoms or not fully understanding your proposed treatment plan.
- Approach to treatment: Your doctor should be known for presenting many options for treating a headache. They shouldn’t be someone who prescribes you medication right off the bat (which is usually a sign they’re just trying to sell).
- Hospital reputation: We highly recommend choosing a doctor who works with a highly-reputed network of hospitals. This will ensure that you receive high-quality and ethical treatment.
Doctors Who Treat Headaches at Ayu Health
Here is a list of doctors from Ayu Health Network of Hospitals who can treat your headache:
- Best Neurology Doctors
- Best ENT Doctors
- Best Ophthalmologists
Choose the Best Doctor for Headache Treatment at Ayu Health
Our doctors at Ayu Health take a patient-first approach for any treatment. In addition to doing a thorough analysis of all your symptoms, they will present you with a variety of treatments that best suit your needs.
Visit our website to learn more or call us at +91 6366-100-800 to book an appointment.
Which Doctor is Best for Headache Treatment?
A neurologist is the best doctor for headache treatment. If your headache lasts for more than two days, make an appointment with your neurologist.
What Does a Neurologist Look for in Headaches?
When diagnosing your headache, a neurologist checks for your strength, sensation, and reflexes. This helps them determine your overall neurological health, as well as the cause of your headache.
When is a Headache Serious?
A headache is serious if it alters your sleep cycle by waking you up in the middle of sleep or preventing you from falling asleep. Also, any headache lasting more than three days is considered serious.
Do I Need a Brain Scan for Headaches?
Yes, you need a brain scan for headaches, but only if it’s serious. In such cases, a CAT scan can help diagnose your headache by giving images of the brain.
Also Read : What Doctor to Consult For Cough & Cold?
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