I'm a wimp when it comes to headaches, as anyone who's witnessed my mad preemptive scramble through my trusty purse-full-o'-aspirin at the first glimmer of brain pain can confirm. For those who live with frequent or chronic headaches, the pain can be debilitating. Thanks to a new Stanford clinic, relief may be in sight.
Despite the occasional publicity and the fact that headaches cost America $30 billion per year in lost productivity, the complexity and many possible causes of headaches means they often go disregarded and misunderstood by physicians. Patients seeking help are sometimes passed off as drug seekers or treated with unhelpful narcotics. There's a reason "headache" is synonymous with "hassle."
Hoping to offer a more holistic, interdisciplinary approach to a complex problem, reknowned headache expert Robert Cowan, MD, will be joining Stanford Hospital & Clinics as director of its new headache clinic. The clinic will employ specialized nurses and physicians with a background in headache care, as well as a number of other specialists to help cover all the headache bases. According to a news release:
What is effective, Cowan said, and what Stanford will offer, are “physical therapists who understand that people with migraines are sensitive to touch, psychologists who understand that a migraine can be a physical manifestation of stress, nutritionists who understand that it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat it, and sleep experts who recognize more than sleep apnea.”
The program, which will open on July 28, aims to treat headache disorders like migraines as chronic conditions, offering long-term treatments and alleviation rather than temporary fixes and drugs. The headache clinic will join Stanford's other pain-focused centers as part of an effort to take a holistic approach to a disabling problem.