Do you need to see a migraine doctor or specialist for headaches? Migraines are intense headaches that can cause painful throbbing or pulsing sensations on one or both sides of the head. They are often characterized by light or sound sensitivity and have been known to cause nausea or vomiting. These headaches can be debilitating, and many people who experience migraines are required to seek medical help for relief.
When you are going about finding the right migraine specialist to get your migraines treated, it helps to know the general symptoms of migraine headaches, and when you and your doctor should search out a migraine specialist.
What Are the Symptoms of a Migraine?
Nearly 20% of people who experience migraines also experience “auras” before a migraine occurs. Auras include a variety of neurological symptoms, such as:
- Seeing visions of flashing lights or crossing lines
- Blind spots
- A brief loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Strange smells or tastes
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
- Feelings of numbness or “pins and needles” in your arms or legs
A migraine can last for up to 72 hours, and their frequency varies from person to person. During the attack phase of a migraine, you may experience:
- Pain on one or both sides of the head
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell or touch
- Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, most people are left feeling drained, confused, and washed out, although this is not the case for everyone.
What Causes Migraines?
Migraine doctors are not entirely sure of the reason some people experience migraines and others do not.
However, most migraine specialists believe genetics plays some role, though the extent is unclear. Many people experience their first migraine in their childhood or teen years. Migraines tend to peak between the ages of 30 and 40 and will become less and less severe and less frequent as you age.
Women are also three times more likely than men to experience migraines, though doctors can only hypothesize as to why.
For those who are prone to migraines, their headaches can be random, but will mostly be triggered by aspects of the environment, including but not limited to:
- Rapid changes in hormone levels. This is believed to be one of the reasons women are more likely to experience migraines than men
- Salty and processed foods
- Food additives like aspartame and MSG
- Skipping meals or fasting
- Stressful situations
- Strong lights, sounds, and smells
- Alcoholic or highly caffeinated beverages
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Strong lights, sounds, and smells
- Intense physical activity
- Changes in weather or air pressure
- Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives
Though migraines cannot be cured, the discomfort and pain they cause can be managed by migraine doctors, and there are certain lifestyle changes that may change the intensity and frequency of your migraines.
There are several different types of migraine specialists those who suffer from migraines may choose from when searching for treatments.
How Does a Migraine Doctor Treat Migraines?
If you experience migraines frequently and find that they disrupt your daily life, you need to see your primary care physician first. Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your migraines, your primary care physician may refer you to a variety of migraine doctors.
When Should I See a Migraine Specialist for Headaches?
Because migraines cannot be cured, many people may not seek help for their migraines or may delay seeking help from a migraine doctor.
If you experience migraines, you should see a doctor when:
- You have migraines more than once a week
- You have headaches more often than not
- Over-the-counter medications are no longer effective
- Your migraines have recently become more frequent or more severe
- The pattern of your headaches changes
If you feel as though it is time to see a doctor about your migraines, before your appointment, keep a record of your migraines; how often they occur, and what triggered each of your attacks.
How Does a Migraine Doctor Diagnose a Migraine?
Your primary care physician, or any migraine doctor they refer you to, will usually be able to diagnose your migraines with a family medical history and a discussion of your signs and symptoms.
However, if a migraine specialist is still unsure that migraines are the source of your pain, an MRI or CT scan can be used to eliminate other potential causes of your symptoms.
Migraine Doctor Types
More than likely, the first type of migraine doctor your primary care physician will recommend will be a neurologist. Neurologists are considered migraine specialists and have experience treating most types of headaches. However, depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also recommend:
- An ophthalmologist if your symptoms include blind spots
- A psychologist or psychiatrist if your doctor believes your migraines are triggered by stress
- An ear, nose, and throat doctor if your symptoms include sinus discomfort
- An allergist if you experience symptoms akin to allergies during your migraines
- An obstetrician/gynecologist if your migraine doctor suspects your migraines are related to a rapid change of female hormones
- A pain-management migraine specialist to help treat the pain associated with migraines
There are also migraine doctors available at specialized clinics, established for the purpose of treating migraines. At these clinics, it is likely you will have access to all the migraine doctors listed above. Your doctor may recommend you visit one of these clinics if your migraines are especially severe.
No matter which type of migraine doctor you are referred to, treatment will center on managing your symptoms and preventing any future attacks.
See A Migraine Doctor at The Migraine Institute in Plano, Texas
Dr. Rodriguez at The Migraine Institute in Plano, TX is a pain management doctor and migraine specialist who treats migraines with holistic, evidence-based methods. Dr. Rodriguez understands that not all pain is the same, and the team at The Migraine Institute will work tirelessly to find a treatment that fits you and your needs.
If your migraines are interfering with your life, don’t let the pain control you any longer. Contact The Pain Relief Center in Plano and start the journey to end your pain.