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Should I See A Neurologist For Migraines

How To Prepare For Your Appointment

When to see a neurologist for headaches or migraines | Ohio State Medical Center

Before your first neurology appointment, do these things to plan ahead:

Gather helpful information. You can organize your medical records or have them sent to your neurologist before your first appointment. Talk to your previous doctors so they can help you get copies of your documents.

Youâll also want to update your medical history. Make sure you can tell your neurologist about all your health conditions, medications , supplements, surgeries, allergies, and your familyâs history of head pain.

Be ready to talk about other lifestyle topics, like whether you smoke or drink, as well as your job. Openness can help your doctor better understand what youâre dealing with.

Explain your pain. Youâll need to describe your headache to your doctor. Be prepared to tell them what your headache feels like, where the pain is on your head, how long it lasts, when the issues happen, and if you know any possible triggers. You may want to keep a headache diary so that you can track these things. Bring it to your appointment for reference.

Bring questions. It can be hard to remember them, so write them down. Keep a list of things you want to ask your doctor. For instance:

Reason #4 Youre Dizzy Or Losing Your Balance A Lot

Our brains and inner ears are key to keeping us upright, but certain disorders can send our sense of balance off-kilter. Dizziness can feel like youve lost your sense of balance or like the room is spinning .

There are lots of potential reasons for feeling dizzy, ranging from blood pressure problems to medication side effects, anxiety disorders, or some neurological diseases. Your neurologist can help diagnose the underlying cause of your dizziness and prescribe medications to help.

Talk to a neurologist.

Don’t ignore your symptoms any longer

From neuropathy to headaches, Parkinson’s, strokes, and more, Dr. DeCastro can help you start feeling better.

What To Know About Migraines

Dr. Eugenia Blank, is a board-certified neurologist based in Medford, MA.

Migraine headaches are a common neurological disorder affecting as many as 40 million Americans. Migraines are recognizable by the intense pain, usually on one side of the head, and a number of side effects including throbbing pain, nausea, sensitivity to light or a visual aura. A migraine may last for anywhere between one and 72 hours, or even longer. Anyone who has experienced migraines understands just how debilitating they can be, said Eugenia Blank, MD, a Tufts Medical Center Community Care neurologist, who sees patients at the neurology office at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford.

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What Is A Neurologist

To receive the best care, you should always first consult your primary care doctor. He or she might recommend you see a neurologist, if they are unable to treat your symptoms properly. It is good to be aware then of what a neurologist does and the symptoms they treat.

A neurologist is a specialist who treats diseases in the brain and spinal cord , peripheral nerves , and muscles. Neurological diseases can include headaches epilepsy stroke movement disorders, such as tremor or Parkinsons disease and many others. Read more below about the most common symptoms of neurological disease.

What Questions Will The Neurologist Ask About A Patients History And Symptoms

How Neurologists Treat Migraines?

The information I try to get from my patients to help me make a diagnosis is:

  • the description of the headache pain
  • where the pain is located
  • if there are any associated symptoms e.g. nausea, sensitivity to light, noise and smells
  • if there are any alleviating or exacerbating factors
  • what the patient takes for the pain
  • if the patient knows any triggers for the headache e.g. stress, relief from stress, dehydration, hunger, alcohol, etc.

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Referral To A Specialist

A GP may decide to refer you to a neurologist, a specialist in conditions affecting the brain and nervous system, for further assessment and treatment if:

  • a diagnosis is unclear
  • you experience migraines on 15 days or more a month
  • treatment is not helping to control your symptoms

Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022

Talk To Your Physician

Similar to other chronic conditions, it is important to speak with your primary care physician if you are experiencing migraines. Your physician may want to refer you to a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of migraines. It may also be helpful to keep a journal to track the frequency, symptoms and intensity of your migraines.

Dr. Eugenia Blank is a general neurologist with a special interest in treating headaches. Her office is located at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford. For more information or to make an appointment, please call .

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Neurologist Appointment For Headaches What To Expect

Headaches are common discomforts of nerves that cause pain in the head or facial parts of the head. This pain causes inflammation of the nerves around the head, neck, and shoulders. It is possible to control the pain with regular medication. When that fails, then you need a referral to a neurologist. Though a visit to a neurologist is a basic procedure, many worry about that initial visit. Today we will demystify the question, what to expect at a neurologist appointment for headaches.

When To See A Neurologist For Headaches

Considering a Neurologist for Migraine in Norwalk, CT?

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A small headache every now and then may not warrant a trip to the doctors office. But what about when you start to experience headaches more frequently? Or headaches become so painful and unbearable that all you want to do is hide in a dark room? In general, mild or infrequent headaches can be discussed with your primary care physician. However, more severe headaches that affect your ability to function or think clearly may require a neurologist. If you are experiencing painful, debilitating headaches then you may want to see a doctor of neurology in San Antonio near you.

Sometimes a headache may be caused by a long day of staring at a computer screen, or after time spent outdoors during allergy season. You will likely notice the difference between mild, one-time headaches versus headaches that dont seem to leave you alone for long. Here are three signs that you should visit a neurologist for your headaches:

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Comparison With Existing Literature

A definitive review by Roland and Coulter called for more studies of referral to specialists. From the current study’s data, and assuming an average practice list size of approximately 1700, it is estimated that 26 out of 1000 patients each year report to their GP during their consultation that they experienced headaches, and of these 2.2% are referred to neurologists. This finding in a prospective study supports findings from a retrospective analysis of computer records on the General Practice Research Database with 13 million patients years of observation. It was found that 2% of patients consulting a GP for headache were referred to neurologists, and 1% to other specialists.

A Headache Neurologist May Not Always Recommend Medications

A headache neurologist can help differentiate a tension-type headache from a migraine, and from all the other types of head pain that will not respond to the types of headache medications frequently used by non-headache specialists in a one-size-fits-all fashion to treat headache. And as you have seen from the video above, a headache neurologist can suggest a comprehensive approach of both medication and non-medication therapies, as appropriate.

Migraine, sinus headaches, tension type headaches, rebound, cervicogenic, cluster, and autonomic cephalalgias require a headache neurologist. Sleep and sleep position is important in triggering headaches, and only a multidisciplinary headache center, with an accredited sleep disorders center, PT, and Imaging on site is likely to be able to take care of worsening or complicated headache syndromes.

A headache neurologist will take a medical history and perform a detailed neurological examination, something a family doctor and non specialist cannot do. And a headache neurologist may want to rule out underlying medical problems that might be causing or complicating the headache. Frequently, brain, carotid or vertebral artery, or neck imaging is abnormal and crucial in the treatment of patients with worsening headache, and points to the underlying root cause.

For more about headaches, go to


    Insist on RNI.

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How Can A Neurologist Help With Migraine

Neurologists specialize in disorders of the nervous system, including the brain. Migraine is a neurological disorder. A neurologist can help make an accurate diagnosis of migraine, as well as rule out any other potential neurological condition that may cause similar symptoms.

Neurologists are knowledgeable about the latest treatments for migraine attacks and can help develop an appropriate treatment plan and fine-tune any medications that may be helpful for you.

Theyre often on the forefront of any new discoveries for their field and can provide you with the newest information and treatment options.

About Maria Decastro Do

When to See a Headache Neurologist

After traveling the country as a locum tenens neurologist and treating patients in a variety of different practices, Dr. Maria DeCastro settled in Tampa and joined Florida Medical Clinic. As a board-certified neurologist, Dr. DeCastro provides generalized neurological care with an interest in headache medicine and epilepsy.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Every patient is different, so talk with your doctor to learn what treatment options are best for you.

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How This Fits In

Headache is the neurological symptom most frequently presented to GPs and referred to neurologists, but little is known about how referred patients differ from those managed by GPs. Patients with headache seen by GPs and neurologists have severe symptoms and disability, but this is not increased in the 2% of patients referred. A third of patients with headache seen by GPs and neurologists have case levels of anxiety or depression, but the 2% of referred patients do not experience more severe psychological distress. Patients with headache who are referred consult more frequently, attribute more symptoms to their headache, have stronger emotional representations, and are more worried and made anxious by their headache symptoms.

Details of patients identified by administrators from each practice were collected. Exclusion criteria were secondary causes for headache, such as subarachnoid haemorrhage other severe medical illness such as terminal cancer psychosis learning disability and/or cognitive deficit of a severity, such that they could not complete questionnaires and not being able to read and/or write English. Informed written consent was obtained.

When To See A Doctor

If you have any type of headaches consistently, its important to speak with your primary care physician so they can help create a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist.

“If your headaches are increasing in frequency or severity, or are interfering with your usual activities, see a doctor,” says Dr. Andiman.

Seek immediate medical attention if youre experiencing the worst headache youve ever had, lose vision or consciousness, have uncontrollable vomiting, or if your headache lasts more than 72 hours with less than 4 hours pain-free.

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Reason #5 You Have Memory Loss Confusion Or Other Cognitive Problems

As we age, its normal to have some problems with forgetfulness or mixing up words. However, the National Institute on Aging recommends seeing a doctor if youre regularly:

  • Having trouble remembering important things or events
  • Misplacing things and not being able to find them
  • Getting lost in a familiar place
  • Forgetting why youre doing something while youre in the middle of doing it
  • Having trouble following along with directions or instructions
  • Forgetting to do basic hygiene tasks, like brushing your teeth or bathing

Many different neurological conditions can cause problems with the way we think and remember things. A neurologist can perform tests to find out why and help you develop a treatment plan to address your symptoms and keep them from getting worse.

You Have Epilepsy Or Seizures

The Migraine Guy – What to Expect When Seeing a Neurologist

A seizure is characterized by loss of consciousness, strange sensations, and uncontrolled movements. They are brain disturbances, and they can be life-threatening. Neurologists may use brain imaging and CT scans in NY to determine the source of your illness. It is possible to stop seizures with treatment. However, some seizure-causing conditions, such as epilepsy, can persist for a long time. Medications can reduce or prevent seizures in many ways. Procedures can also reduce seizures. If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurologist can prescribe medications and treatments that can control your seizures.

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You Have Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, lifelong disease that affects your spinal cord and brain. It causes weakness, numbness, and tingling. The disease can also affect your vision. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease, as symptoms can vary from time to time and recur. Neurologists use your exam and MRI images of the brain and spinal cord to make a diagnosis. Many medications can help slow or control MS attacks. Work with your neurologist to find one that is right for you. A neurologist can diagnose MS and treat it effectively with the right medications and treatments.

Summary Of Main Findings

Headache is one of the most frequent symptoms reported in the community. Adults who consulted for headache were likely to be of working age, and three-quarters were female. Their symptoms generally had a substantial impact and caused severe disability. Twenty-nine per cent had clinically important levels of anxiety or depression, with anxiety symptoms being more frequently a problem than symptoms of depression. Mean anxiety and depression scores were higher than expected for consulters in general practice, and comparable to patients with medically unexplained symptoms. Over half of headache consulters perceived their problem as physical. Referred patients linked more symptoms to their headache, and had stronger emotional representations, being more worried about and made more anxious by their headache symptoms. Referred patients consulted more frequently than the 98%of patients managed without referral to a neurologist. By extrapolating and weighting for the proportion of women consulting it was determined that headache consulters attend their GP more frequently each year than average in the UK .

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Do Migraines Show Up On Ct Scan

Imaging tests rarely help. Health care providers see many patients for headaches and most of them have migraines or headaches caused by tension. Both kinds of headaches can be very painful, but a CT scan or an MRI rarely shows why the headache occurs. Having a CT scan or MRI also does not help ease the pain.

What To Expect During Your First Visit With A Neurologist

Should I See a Neurologist After a Work

When you see a neurologist, theyll likely do a physical exam as well as a neurological exam. This is to test muscle strength and coordination, rule out any other diagnoses, and get a sense of your overall neurological health.

Theyll take a detailed medical history and ask you questions about your migraine history, since migraine diagnosis is strongly linked to medical history and reporting of symptoms.

They may send you for additional tests if they want to rule out any other medical conditions. But to diagnose migraine, neurologists often go by patient report.

Neurologists are specialists, so even with many insurances, your copay might be higher than when seeing a regular practitioner.

The cost can depend on many things, including:

  • whether you have insurance
  • whether your neurologist takes your insurance
  • where you live
  • what is done at the visit

The cost of the visit can vary widely, so be sure to get an estimate from the hospital or practice. When migraine itself can be expensive, this can be yet another cost and stressor.

If youre underinsured or uninsured, some neurologists may offer reduced-fee care. Call the office and ask to speak with the office manager to see whether they have a payment plan or a financial hardship program.

If you get migraine care at a hospital, many hospitals have programs that help provide care for those who have trouble affording it. Call their financial office to see what options may be available.

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Neurologist Tests For Headaches

When you see your neurologist for headaches, your first neurologist appointment for headaches will begin by answering questions about your symptoms, your lifestyle, and your medical history. Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as those listed below to help visualize the internal structures of your brain and look for any abnormalities that may be contributing to your headaches.

CT Scan a CT snap uses magnets to visualize the bones, tissues, and blood vessels in your head and neck. Your neurologist can use a CT scan to see if there are any structural issues, spinal issues, bleeding, or tumors that could be causing your headaches.

MRI An MRI is more powerful than a CT scan and can more precisely show the internal structures of the body. If youve recently incurred an injury or your doctor suspects a tumor could be causing your headaches, an MRI may be ordered.

EEG An EEG measures brain waves. EEGs can be used to diagnose brain disorders such as epilepsy, brain damage, sleep disorders, and brain dysfunction that could be causing headaches.

X-ray Your doctor may order an x-ray of your sinus cavity to determine if sinus issues are contributing to your headaches.

Labwork Your neurologist may order lab work such as urinalysis and a complete workup to help determine if an untreated underlying condition such as infection or diabetes is causing your headaches.

How To Prepare For Your Visit With A Headache Doctor

Many people living with migraine understand the value of a doctor who understands what they are going through and who is willing to help them find relief. But, with waiting lists up to six months or longer to be seen, that first appointment becomes even more criticalwhich is exactly why its essential to effectively prepare for your first visit.

We spoke with Dr. Cynthia Armand, a Headache Fellow at New Yorks Montefiore Headache Center, about how to prepare for a first-time visit with a headache specialist.

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