Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What can I do if my headaches don't seem to be getting better?

        Health | Headache

If your symptoms remain the same or get worse, be sure you let your doctor know. Even small changes in your treatment plan can make a big difference. However, if your symptoms still don't change or continue getting worse, or if you develop other conditions that complicate your headache treatment, you may need to see a headache specialist. This is a doctor who:

  • has training or board certification in a specialty such as neurology
  • is a member of any national organization relating to headaches, such as the National Headache Foundation (NHF), American Academy of Neurology (AAN), or the American Association for the Study of Headache (AASH)
  • has experience in headache care
  • may dedicate a large part of his or her clinical practice to headache care
  • may have done research, writing, or teaching in the area of headache

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, consider asking your doctor for a referral to a headache specialist:

  • Have your symptoms remained unchanged despite professional help?
  • Has your doctor questioned your initial diagnosis?
  • Are you or your doctor uncomfortable with the progress of your treatment?
  • Does your disability continue or has it gotten worse?
  • Have your symptoms changed?
  • Do you have other medical conditions that complicate your headache therapy?

The number of times you need to see the headache specialist depends on your situation. If your condition improves or stops changing, follow-up visits can usually be made with your primary care doctor.


More to Explore