Overview of the Headache Program 

The Headache Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute offers specialized care for patients experiencing headaches.

Headaches can be more complicated than most people realize: Different kinds of headaches can have their own sets of symptoms, happen for unique reasons, and require different kinds of treatment. The Headache Program team is highly trained in thorough diagnosis and treatment of headaches. Once the headache is correctly identified, caregivers work with patients to find the treatment plan that is most likely to alleviate and prevent their headaches.

What we treat

There are several different types of headaches, which are all diagnosed and treated by the Headache Program’s expert team. The most common headaches seen by program caregivers are:

  • Tension-type headache: Patients may experience mild to moderate pain, and usually have no other symptoms.
  • Migraine: With this condition, patients experience intense headaches that are often described as pounding, throbbing pain. A migraine can last from four hours to three days, and can occur several times per month or more frequently. Related symptoms may include sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea; or vomiting.
  • Cluster headache: This is an intense headache that feels like a piercing pain behind or around one eye. It is the least common, but the most severe, type of headache. Cluster headaches occur in clusters of four to twelve weeks, and then resolve until the next clustering occurs.​
  • Sinus headache: A sinus headache is characterized by pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. It is caused by inflammation of the sinuses, the spaces located around these areas of the head. Most headaches around the sinuses that do not have associated nasal discharge are actually misdiagnosed migraines.​

Diagnosis & treatment of headache

Diagnosis of headache

Patients who come to the Headache Program are diagnosed using a thorough assessment of current symptoms and their medical history. In order to make the correct diagnosis, the caregiver may ask the patient about the initial onset of symptoms, previous treatment regimens for headaches, and current and past medications. It is also important to establish a history of triggers that have initiated the onset of headaches in the past, as well as detailed symptoms experienced before, during, and after headaches. 

If the patient has had imaging studies or other tests at other healthcare facilities, these reports should be presented at the clinical visit to complete the detailed assessment. If additional imaging tests are deemed necessary, these can be completed at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Imaging Institute.

Treatment of headache

Headache treatment depends on the type of headache diagnosed, the cause of headache, and how often it occurs. The headache specialist develops a treatment plan to meet each patient’s specific needs. This may include further diagnostic testing, medication, behavioral modification, and/or keeping a diet and sleep history to help determine how lifestyle factors may be adjusted to reduce headaches.

Headache Program caregivers 

The Headache Program’s experienced team provides Patients First care to individuals experiencing headache. Headache specialists work with specialized nurses and pharmacists to optimize patient medication regimen and educate patients on lifestyle changes to manage their headaches. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Headache physicians
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists

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