Who should you see for chronic headache relief?

Posted on August 10, 2018

A headache can range from minor to debilitating pain. The cause of a headache varies widely and examples include dehydration, stress, a food allergy or a more serious medical problem. Treatment approaches vary widely depending on the practitioner and can lead to a ongoing search for headache treatment options. Being aware of different treatment options provides the headache sufferer with options, and this article explores how each practitioner treats headaches and answers the common question—What type of doctor should you see for chronic headache relief in Charlotte, N.C.?

Headache relief can be divided into 2 categories

  • Allopathic Treatments
  • Natural Headache Relief Treatments

Allopathic treatments involve seeing a primary care physician, neurologist, orthopedist or a pain management specialist.  The first step is to identify and rule out a serious medical condition such as a stroke or brain tumor using diagnostic tests like X-Rays, MRI’s, CT Scans, Carotid Ultrasound or Cerebral Angiogram. Assuming all tests are negative for life threatening conditions, treatment options include both pain relieving and preventative medications.

A physician might recommend and prescribe pain relieving medications such as: aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, escedrin, indomethacin, triptons, ergots, glucocorticoids or opioids. 

Preventative medications are common for recurring headaches and include: cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, or in office injections such as Botox treatments.  The purpose of preventive medications is to change the biochemistry within the body to dilate blood vessels, alter molecules or pain receptors to stop the onset of a headache.  

Natural Headache Relief treatments are growing in popularity due to the long term side effects of prescription medications. Chiropractors and Naturopathic Doctors are the most common alternative medicine practitioners that treat headaches.

The most common natural treatments include: 


-Biofeedback— includes relaxing and managing muscle tension through therapy.

-Massage therapy

-Behavioral therapy—teaches and reprograms the effects of one’s thoughts and how they affect pain levels.

-Chiropractic care—identifies structural problems within the body that cause headaches. Examples include spinal misalignments or imbalanced muscles that slow blood flow to the brain. 

-Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B-2, Coenzyme Q10, magnesium supplements.

The biggest difference between the allopathic and natural treatments is the approach—The natural treatment model searches to eliminate the source of headaches while the allopathic model treats symptoms.  The allopathic approach typically provides faster results but increases the risk of ongoing headaches while the natural approach seeks to eliminate headaches permanently but treatments may not provide immediate headache relief.