Headaches are by far the most common neurological disorder, affecting close to 10 million people. More serious and persistent headaches affect an estimated 40% of people in the UK at some time in their lives.
As an isolated symptom, headaches are very rarely caused by tumours or a ‘serious’ underlying disease. Even so, the pain and discomfort is still a significant problem for the sufferer.
Migraine headaches are usually severe, throbbing headaches on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea. Bright lights and loud noises can make this discomfort worse.
The ‘episodic’ form of the tension-type headache affects up to 80% of people from time to time, and is considered to be a ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’ headache. As a result, most people can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications.
The main symptom of a cluster headache is an excruciating pain in one side of the head, often behind the eye. Attacks can occur in ‘clusters’ of up to three per day over several weeks and months.
Overuse of medication
Also known as ‘painkiller headaches’, medication-overuse headaches are usually characterised by a chronic daily headache that doesn’t go away. Medication-overuse headaches can happen if you take painkillers and other headache tables too often.
What happens at the headache clinic?
Before your initial consultation, we’ll ask you to fill out a headache diary. The consultation itself will last for around half an hour. If your consultant feels it’s appropriate, you may be referred for a scan or blood tests.
We’ll ask you to continue with your headache diary and attend follow-up consultations. Once we’ve diagnosed you, you may be referred for the following procedures / treatments:
- Greater occipital nerve block
- Lumbar puncture (where a sample of fluid is taken from the lower back for testing)
How do I make an appointment?
The Headache Clinic at the Hospital is open on Monday evenings from 5.30pm to 8.00pm. Please call 020 8971 8026 to make an appointment or ask your GP to refer you.