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Why You Should See a Neurologist for Migraines

You don’t have to live with debilitating migraines. Get help from a neurologist for migraines at Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn by calling (718) 305-1436 for an appointment. 

Everyone gets a headache at some point. Most are mild and easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers, rest, and some extra fluids. However, a migraine isn’t your average headache, and the effects can be debilitating and disrupt every aspect of your life. 

Although researchers have made progress in determining migraine causes, many people need help from a specialist to get to the bottom of their condition and find relief. Seeing a neurologist for migraines can significantly improve your overall quality of life.

If you live with migraines, our guide will help determine whether it’s time to ask your primary care provider to refer you to a neurologist for migraines treatment in Brooklyn, NY.

What Is a Migraine? 

migraine is a headache that causes severe throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head. According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 39 million Americans get these recurrent, painful attacks, but many never receive an official diagnosis or seek treatment. 

Migraines last anywhere from four to 72 hours, often with additional symptoms, like nausea and vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, and pain that worsens with movement. Triggers include everything from strong odors to stress, hormonal fluctuations, mental health, and even the weather. 

Regardless of what triggers a migraine, the effects are life-changing. According to one study, 50% of those who have chronic migraine (meaning 15 or more headache days per month) report significant disability as a result. Other research supports these findings, noting that migraines harm overall quality of life. 

What Can a Neurologist Do for Migraines? 

Migraines are a neurological condition. Seeing a neurologist, a doctor specializing in conditions of the nervous system (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) can confirm the diagnosis and provide an effective treatment plan. 

When a neurologist diagnoses migraines, your treatment plan will likely include medication and lifestyle changes. 

You may receive two types of medication: Preventive and abortive. Preventive medication may include antidepressants, beta-blockers, or other prescriptions to stop headaches before they start. You’ll take abortive medicines at the first sign of a migraine to keep it from getting worse. 

The neurologist may also recommend lifestyle changes to reduce triggers, including vitamins, exercise, diet, and stress management. For example, research in the Current Journal of Neurology revealed a strong correlation between a diet high in inflammatory foods and migraines, leading many doctors to recommend an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Signs That It’s Time to See a Neurologist for Migraines 

Frequent, severe headaches that prevent you from engaging in your daily activities mean that it’s time to get medical help. Signs to make an appointment with a neurologist for migraines include:

  • More than two headaches a month

  • Headaches that don’t respond to over-the-counter medication or taking OTC medication for headaches more than five days a month 

  • Vision changes before headaches start 

  • Additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and light sensitivity 

  • Headaches that cause other neurological symptoms, like weakness on one side of the body

  • A family history of migraines 

Although women are more likely to get migraines than men (18% of women as opposed to 6% of men getting them), the condition can affect anyone of any gender, age, or race. 

What to Expect When You See a Neurologist 

When you see a neurologist for migraines, the doctor will rule out conditions that could cause your symptoms to identify the source of your pain and the best treatment. This starts with thoroughly reviewing your medical history and symptoms and a physical exam. 

The doctor will check your muscle strength and coordination, reflexes, vision, cognitive function, sensation, and more to narrow down the source of your headaches. For example, the doctor will look for swelling in the optic nerve, which could be a sign of a brain tumor or aneurysm, conditions that can cause migraine-like symptoms. Checking your muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes can help the doctor rule out diseases like multiple sclerosis. 

Although neurologists typically diagnose migraines based on the exam, they may recommend additional testing for a more accurate assessment. While blood tests aren’t usually a good indicator of migraine, some doctors will order a complete blood panel to rule out other diseases or an erythrocyte sedimentation rate test to look for inflammation. 

Other tests the neurologist might conduct to diagnose your migraines include:

  • EEG

  • MRI

  • CT Scan 

  • Spinal tap

The results of your tests will determine the best treatment plan. Keeping track of your headaches in a journal or log is also invaluable when meeting with a migraines specialist in Brooklyn, NY. Noting details about your headaches can help the doctor pinpoint triggers and identify patterns that point to a diagnosis.

Make an Appointment with a Migraines Specialist in Brooklyn, NY

If migraines disrupt your life, it’s time to make an appointment at Metro Healthcare Partners. Seeing a neurologist for migraine can help you regain control of your life and reduce the number of headache days you experience, so call (718) 305-1406 to make an appointment. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you suspect possible concussions after a car accident, either. Our neurologists can help you manage symptoms for a faster recovery. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can a Migraine Be a Symptom of Another Problem?

Migraines can be secondary headaches, which are symptoms of a different condition. Some of the most common conditions that can cause chronic migraines include traumatic brain injuries, stroke, infection, tumors, and aneurysms. 

Why Would a Doctor Refer You to a Neurologist for Migraines?

If the initial treatment for your migraines is ineffective, your doctor will likely recommend you to a specialist like a neurologist for more in-depth testing and therapy to address the root cause. 

Do Migraines Get Worse With Age?

Research shows that while the severity of headaches often decreases with age, the number of headache days increases. Among people over 70, 41% had 10 to 14 headache days per month.