Headaches 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 might start to occur more often or become more severe.
At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we know that headaches 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 shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you love. We can help.
There are many types of headaches, each with unique causes and symptoms.
Common types of headaches include:
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 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.
Treatment methods vary by the type and severity of the headache. We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to manage and help prevent your pain.
Medication is the most common treatment method for relieving headache 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 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.
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:
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: