Headache and Migraine Treatment

I think my headaches are migraines. How can the Headache Clinic help me?

If you suffer from migraines you are not alone: more than 28 million Americans get migraines, making them a leading cause of emergency room visits every year. In fact, the vast majority of debilitating headaches (ones that disrupt daily life) are migraine headaches.

Although migraines vary greatly from person to person, they are typically characterized by an intense, throbbing pain, sometimes accompanied with nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. Unlike other types of headaches, migraines often result from a known trigger, such as:

  • Certain foods
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Medication
  • Environmental factors
  • Hormonal fluctuations in women

For people whose lives are significantly affected by migraines (generally those who suffer dysfunction from migraines three or more days per month), daily suppressive drug therapy can be very effective for reducing migraine frequency. The Headache Clinic team is experienced in prescribing a variety of medicines formulated to target and block the migraine process. These medicines work differently than over-the-counter or narcotic pain medication, which can actually make migraines worse and cause other health problems.

For patients who suffer more occasional migraines, the Headache Clinic at Virginia Mason Federal Way Medical Center, can prescribe medicines that are taken after symptoms have begun to help stop attacks and control pain.

Other Treatments Available for Headaches and Migraines

Because headaches vary in their pain level, frequency and cause, no two patients are exactly alike. That's why the Headache Clinic team cares for the whole patient, taking a thorough health history to guide appropriate treatment choices. Drug therapy may not work for patients who have other conditions, a poor tolerance for the medication or simply have a desire to try non-drug options. The Headache Clinic can provide or help coordinate other advanced therapies, including:

  • Injected nerve blocks to prevent or reduce the severity of headaches
  • Cognitive behavioral training for managing stress to prevent or reduce headaches
  • Other treatments that target the nerves to block or impair their ability to transmit pain signals

For more information about the Headache Clinic or to schedule an appointment with a specialist, call (253) 874-1601, option "0".