Treatment and relief for headaches and migraines

Headaches and migraines happen on and off in our lives for many reasons. Sometimes a short-term cause like dehydration, stress or low blood sugar can bring one on, and once remedied, you feel better. But other times headaches and migraines might start to occur more often or become more severe.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we know that headaches and migraines can be debilitating and interrupt your daily work, school or social routines. Leveraging the expertise of our board-certified neurologists, we provide the latest in diagnosis techniques and personalized treatment plans to get you timely answers and relief.

Headaches and migraines shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you love. We can help.

What we treat

There are many types of headaches, each with unique causes and symptoms.

Common types of headaches include:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Daily headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Migraines
  • Medication overuse headaches
  • New daily persistent headaches (NDPH)
  • Secondary headaches
  • Tension headaches
Diagnosis

Whichever type of headache you’re suffering from, we’re here to help you find relief. But different types of headaches require different types of treatment. So a big step toward feeling better involves getting a thorough and accurate diagnosis.

Doctors typically diagnose headaches and migraines by first asking about your symptoms and learning your medical history. Since headaches tend to run in families, genetics can play an important role in diagnosis. Your doctor may ask you to complete a headache history form, which will help document and describe your symptoms. It’s also helpful to keep a headache journal and record the timing and circumstances surrounding each occurrence.

A physical exam and blood test may also be performed to rule out other health conditions that could be an underlying cause for your symptoms. If those measures don’t produce a sure diagnosis, our neurologists may run more advanced neurological exams like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computerized tomography (CT) scan to find answers.

Headache and migraine treatment

Treatment methods vary by the type and severity of the headache or migraine. We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to manage and help prevent your pain.

Medication for headache relief

Medication is the most common treatment method for relieving headache and migraine pain. For minor headaches, doctors often suggest over-the-counter options, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. For more serious or reoccurring headaches, fast-acting prescription medicines are more commonly recommended. Our doctors can help you understand if preventive headache medications are a good fit for you.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes improve headache symptoms long term by adjusting your daily routines to improve your health and avoid possible triggers. Doctors may recommend changes to your diet, exercise, sleep schedule and stress management processes to help prevent or reduce future occurrences.

Relaxation techniques and biofeedback can also reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches. In biofeedback, therapists use electronic devices to teach you how to relieve your symptoms by controlling your own muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition that often is accompanied by a severe headache. Symptoms vary from person to person but usually include nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. There is no cure for migraines, but there are migraine treatment options that help prevent them from starting and reduce the severity of symptoms.

A migraine is a type of headache that can cause severe, throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Unlike regular headaches, migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities. Treatment for migraines often includes a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Your doctor will work with you to find the best solution for you.

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms that are new to you, like vision loss, confusion, stiff neck, fever or weakness, please seek immediate care at your nearest urgent care or emergency room. Also, seek immediate medical help if your headache came on very suddenly, within seconds, as it could be a sign of a serious health problem such as meningitis, a brain aneurysm or stroke.

If this is an emergency, please call 911.

Call for 24/7 help:

Walk in:

  • Urgent care – Walk in and meet with a doctor at any of our 23 urgent care locations in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. Open weekdays, weekends and some holidays with no appointment needed.
  • Emergency room – If you need emergency care, visit your nearest emergency room.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: