Effective headache treatment requires accurate diagnosis
Headaches are treated comprehensively in Confido’s new Headache Centre. Experts of various specialities combine diagnostics and treatment possibilities that help stop the ache.
Headaches are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system – every year, about 50% of adults suffer from a headache. Most of them find relief without a doctor’s help, but there are some people whose head aches so intensely or so often that it disrupts their daily life. Chronic headaches may cause anxiety or depression. Although it is a common problem, headaches are under-diagnosed and under-treated.
“Around a fifth of migraines and tension-type headaches are correctly diagnosed,” Siim Schneider, Head of Neurology Centre at Confido says.Although headaches may seem like a part of ordinary daily life, there are treatments for them. “Contrary to popular opinion, a headache is an illness that can be, if correctly diagnosed, effectively treated,” the neurologist adds.
It is important to consult your doctor
As there may be various reasons for a headache, it is important to consult your doctor and identify the problem. If headaches are recurring and over-the-counter medicines don’t work, we recommend making an appointment with a neurologist in order to find the reasons for the headaches and to get treatment. “Like with any illness, the correct treatment for a headache requires an accurate diagnosis. Based on that, the neurologist devises a treatment plan and, depending on the person’s gender, age, other health conditions and preferences, chooses the most suitable methods for treatment,” Schneider explains. “We will never leave a patient alone – if one treatment plan does not help, we will continue looking for a solution until we find a treatment that works.”
Confido Headache Centre is a place where a whole team of specialists is dedicated to offering treatment: neurologists, a headache nurse, physiotherapists and a psychologist. In addition to experienced specialists there are all the necessary diagnostics and treatment possibilities.
The treatments of a headache nurse
A headache nurse can teach you how to deal with a headache and what kind of changes to make in your lifestyle to reduce the occurrence of headaches. The nurse assesses the effectiveness and side effects of headache medication and administers neuromodulation treatments if the neurologist has included them in the treatment plan.
During the neuromodulation treatment a device emitting weak electrical impulses is placed on the forehead, the nape or the neck to alleviate headaches. The treatment can be administered at any stage of a migraine or cluster headache, even as a primary treatment option. “It is a good alternative if a person wishes to avoid drugs or if they have contraindications to drugs,” Schneider explains.
The role of physiotherapy in headache treatment
Physiotherapy is beneficial for prevention and relief from headaches. It improves the mobility and balance of soft tissues and joints. Physiotherapy is also beneficial in learning to notice when your muscles tense up when under stress and in knowing how to do relaxation exercises independently. A physiotherapist teaches you how to relax and tense the muscles one by one. A physiotherapist also helps you decide what type of massage would be helpful for a headache. The right type of massage can help to alleviate and shorten the headache and improve the quality of sleep. A physiotherapist may use a dry needling technique where the physiotherapist inserts thin needles into the muscles and then moves them. During the procedure, localised twitches occur in the muscles and muscle tension is reduced. Dry needling is the most effective treatment in the case of tension headaches and headaches that start from the neck.
The role of a psychologist in headache treatment
Frequent headaches may cause mental stress and fear of new headaches occurring and the accompanying discomfort. “To reduce fear, people may try to find their own solutions such as excessive consumption of alcohol, tranquilisers or smoking. The occurrence of anxiety and depression is above average among migraine patients,” the neurologist explains and adds that the psychologist assesses the patient’s mood and offers psychotherapy so that the person can learn to manage their emotions better and use more effective coping mechanisms. The psychologist also teaches meditation. It helps to reduce pain and improves mood as the part of the brain that regulates pain impulses is less active during meditation. “Headaches can also be reduced if emotions are managed skilfully.” Schneider says.
There are various modern treatments for headaches and their variety is increasing. The Headache Centre has been founded with the aim of ensuring that anyone suffering a headache can be sure that in cooperation with specialists, the most suitable support and treatment plan for them will be devised. It is important to take notice of headaches and look for help as soon as possible. The sooner a headache is diagnosed and treatment begins the better the result of the treatment.