DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve had persistent headaches for about six months. Medication sometimes helps, but not always, and the pain just keeps coming back. My doctor checked to see if another medical problem could be causing the headaches, but she didn’t find anything. She now recommends I see a pain management specialist. What can they offer other than more medication? I’m missing a lot of work, and I’m afraid I’ll never get this under control.
ANSWER: Chronic pain such as yours can be debilitating and, as you’ve seen, pain relievers aren’t always the solution. A specialist in pain management can assess your situation, give you alternative treatment options, and help you find ways to cope with the chronic headaches, so you can get back to living your life the way you want.
As in your situation, when no underlying condition is found that’s causing chronic headaches, then treatment focuses on lowering the frequency and severity of the headaches, as well as reducing the disruption they cause in your daily life. One of the best ways to identify the type of headache you have, along with examining specific headache therapies, may be to consider seeing a headache specialist such as a neurologist.