We care about your quality of life
Migraine, cluster headache, face pain and related conditions can really hurt your quality of life. We have specialized expertise in caring for people struggling with all types of chronic headache and face pain. At the Headache + Face Pain Program, we take a comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating your problem.
Treating the whole body, not just the condition
Many kinds of headache and face pain are related to broader issues. For instance, insomnia and fatigue can lead to muscle tightness, which can spark chronic migraine. Hormonal/menstrual issues are the most important trigger of migraine in women. Reflux and other gastrointestinal conditions may be the source of headache.
As part of our initial evaluation in the headache clinic, we take the time to discuss your medical history so we can pinpoint the root cause of your problem. Our treatment approach then focuses on addressing that root cause along with your specific form of headache or face pain.
What types of headaches do we treat?
- Chronic migraine involves headache on a daily or near daily basis with severe migraine headache at least weekly. Most patients we see have this condition.
Chronic migraine treatments focus on managing headaches with migraine medication. Our doctors recommend physical therapy to deal with tightness in shoulder and neck muscles. We may also inject botulinum toxin (Botox), a long-acting muscle relaxant.
- Episodic migraine involves severe migraine headaches at least two or three times a month.
Our first goal in treating episodic migraine is to relieve your headache quickly using migraine medications, such as sumatriptan (Imitrex). Finding a medication that works consistently can greatly reduce the anxiety you feel about the next attack. If you frequently have attacks, we may prescribe medications to help prevent the headaches from occurring in the first place.
- Cluster headache, a rare condition, is perhaps the most painful form of headache. Attacks occur daily (often several times per day) over the course of several weeks and do not return for many months.
We treat cluster headache aggressively, beginning with Imitrex injections and/or oxygen inhalation to counter the acute pain. We then seek to prevent future attacks by prescribing medications known as calcium-entry blockers.
- Chronic face pain usually originates in the jaw muscles (e.g. temporomandibular disorder or TMD) but may also be caused by nerve, nose or sinus conditions.
When the source of chronic face pain is muscular in nature, we typically recommend the use of an oral device (designed by a dentist) combined with physical therapy. We may collaborate with the orofacial pain experts at the Craniofacial Pain Center of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in treating face pain.