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When you have frequent or severe head pain, it can be hard to get through the day. At Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute, our team of headache experts can help you relieve pain now and prevent future headaches from happening.

From diagnosis through treatment, we provide comprehensive, personalized care for all types of headaches. Whether you have migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches or a rare headache disorder, you can turn to our experienced specialists for the care you need to enjoy a better quality of life.

Why choose Atrium Health?

  • Trusted expertise: We’re one of only a few multidisciplinary headache programs in the region. With a team of neurologists, psychologists and physical therapists who have training and experience in treating headaches, you can trust that you’re in excellent hands with our specialists.
  • Team approach: To ensure you get complete care for your unique needs, we work with your primary care doctor and other experts across Atrium Health – from neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to interventional radiologists and pain anesthesiologists.
  • Innovative treatments: We conduct cutting-edge headache and migraine research to bring you the most promising treatments as soon as they’re available, using the latest headache remedies to give you the best results.
  • Whole-person care: Our headache treatment goes beyond finding the right medication. We look at how factors like stress, sleep and diet may affect your pain and help you find other solutions that reduce or relieve your symptoms.

Request an appointment

To request an appointment with an Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute neurologist, please call 704-446-1900.

Patient care – what we treat

We treat all types of headaches, facial pain and headache-related dizziness, including complex cases that haven’t responded to treatment before.

Our first step is to pinpoint what’s causing your symptoms. We complete a full evaluation to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Some conditions we treat include:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Headaches during pregnancy
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)
  • Post-concussion headache syndrome
  • Low and high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure headaches
  • Head, facial, neck and TMJ pain
  • Other rare headache disorders and related conditions

Treatments

Our goal is to help you get back to doing the things you love. We offer treatments that can quickly stop pain now and options that prevent future headaches. Our experts work with you to create an effective personalized care plan that may include a combination of therapies.

Some of the treatments we offer include:

  • Nerve blocks, including SPG injections
  • Trigger point injections
  • Botox injections
  • Infusion therapy (medication through an IV)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Epidural blood patch for CSF leaks
  • Radiofrequency ablations
  • Surgery and radiation therapy for trigeminal neuralgia

Research

Our neurological expertise is powered by leading-edge research. We apply the latest findings in real time to provide the best possible care. And we continually participate in innovative studies to better understand what causes headaches and migraines and look for potential cures.

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Find a clinical trial

Through our in-house neurosciences research, we give patients access to potentially breakthrough therapies.

Use our search tool to find current clinical trials. To learn more about our available studies, talk to your doctor.

Search clinical trials

Make a referral

When you refer a patient to us, we keep you involved and up to date throughout their care. To make a referral, call our dedicated physician referral line at 704-468-0101 or send a fax to 704-468-0022.

Frequently asked questions

Headaches occur for a variety of reasons. Determining the type of headache you’re having helps us find out what’s causing it.

There are 2 main types of headaches: primary and secondary. With primary headaches, like migraine and tension headaches, the head pain itself is the problem. With secondary headaches, the pain is a symptom of another medical condition, like a concussion or sinus infection.

Some common triggers of primary headaches are:

  • Alcohol use
  • Bright lights
  • Dehydration
  • Eyestrain
  • Hormonal changes
  • Hunger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Medication
  • Noise
  • Stress
  • Strong smells
  • Weather changes

We encourage you to keep a headache journal that tracks the date, time and onset of your headache, as well as other factors like what you were doing when it started and any treatments you used. This detailed record of your headaches can help us identify your triggers and find effective solutions.

Migraines are extremely painful, recurring headaches that are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances or nausea.

Migraines usually occur as isolated “attacks” that can last from 4 to 72 hours. A migraine attack may happen once a year or several times in a week. Migraines are considered chronic when they occur at least 15 days in a month, often on a daily or near-daily basis.

Migraines tend to begin on the side of the head and may spread to both sides. Migraine symptoms include pain that’s throbbing, pounding or pulsating and may be accompanied by:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Visual disturbances (aura)
  • Sensitivity to light, noise or movement
  • Irritability

Migraines most often affect women ages 20 to 45. Women are nearly 3 times more likely to get migraines than men. While researchers don’t know exactly what causes migraines, there may be a genetic link. More than half of people with migraines have an affected family member.

Migraines can be debilitating, but relief is possible. To make an appointment for migraine treatment, call 704-446-1900.

The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days, with symptoms like:

  • Mild to severe pain
  • Pain on both sides of the head
  • Dull or squeezing pain, like there’s a tight band around your head

While the symptoms of a tension headache and migraine can be similar, tension headaches usually aren’t accompanied by nausea or vomiting, and the pain doesn’t increase with routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs.

Women are more likely to get tension headaches than men. Nearly everyone will have at least 1 tension headache at some point in their lives and more than a third of people will experience a tension headache each year. Tension headaches are considered chronic when they happen 15 or more days per month for at least 3 months.

To make an appointment for tension headache treatment, call 704-446-1900.

Cluster headaches are recurring periodic cycles (“clusters”) of headache attacks. A single attack is usually brief, lasting 15 minutes to 3 hours, but is extremely painful. Clusters may occur daily or multiple times a day for weeks or months.

Cluster headache symptoms include:

  • Burning, sharp, stabbing or steady pain
  • Pain on one side of the head, generally around the eye
  • Red or watering eyes
  • Eyelid drooping or swelling
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)

Cluster headaches are rare, affecting less than 1% of the population. More men than women are affected. These headaches can occur at any age but are most common in the 20s through middle age.

To make an appointment for cluster headache treatment, call 704-446-1900.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric shock-like pain in parts of the face.

When trigeminal neuralgia symptoms can’t be controlled with medication, surgery and radiation therapy can be effective treatment options. We offer these services in collaboration with our expert neurosurgery team and radiation oncology providers at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute.

To make an appointment for trigeminal neuralgia treatment, call 704-446-1900.

If you have any concerns about your headaches, talk to a healthcare provider. They can rule out serious conditions and help you get relief.

Typically, you can start with your primary care doctor. If you need more specialized treatment for severe or chronic headaches, ask your doctor to refer you to our program or call 704-446-1900 to request an appointment with one of our headache doctors.

Most headaches are not a medical emergency. But sometimes, a headache can be a sign of a severe or life-threatening medical problem.

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Your headache comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent.
  • Your headache is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, severe neck pain, persistent vomiting or unrelenting diarrhea, loss of vision, weakness, loss of consciousness, confusion, seizure or trouble speaking.
  • You experience a headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse.
  • You cannot tolerate your headache even after taking your rescue medications.

Our Providers

Our highly experienced team of providers includes neurologists with special training in headache and facial pain. Find a headache specialist near you.

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