At MedStar Health, our surgeons are experts in diagnosing and surgically treating various headache disorders, including:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Post traumatic headache conditions
  • Occipital neuralgia

The causes of such conditions can be very complex, and many patients spend years chasing treatments. Our surgeons receive additional training focusing specifically on nerves, to ensure that you receive the best possible care from top experts in the field, and often use treatments such as the following:

  • Pharmacological: Patients often benefit from both a preventive and abortive medication treatment plan. A daily preventive medication will help make headaches less severe when they do occur. These include antidepressant, anti seizure and antihypertensive medications. An abortive medication is a single medication or a combination of medications that is taken during an attack. These include NSAIDS, triptans, ergotamines, antiemetics and antipsychotics.
  • Nerve blocks: In this procedure, anesthetic agents (a mixture of lidocaine and bupivacaine) are injected near the occipital nerve on the back of the head near the base of the skull. Most patients have no side effects; some patients experience pain at the injection site and/or dizziness.
  • Botox: These injections are used primarily on patients who experience chronic daily headaches.
  • Nerve decompression surgery: This procedure is reserved for patients who experience occipital neuralgia or chronic daily headaches. For patients with chronic migraines who do not find relief with medications or lifestyle changes, peripheral nerve surgery may be the answer.