Writing in the journal Neurological Sciences, Dr. Gennaro Bussone, a neurologist with more than 20 years’ experience, talked about the challenges facing doctors whose work is treating headaches. He says that many of these challenges have not been addressed by modern medical science, putting the burden on the treating doctor. In particular, the doctor must depend on his empathy to achieve relief for his patients.

Two woman console each other while sitting on a large rock in the woods

Symptoms Are Subjective

One of the biggest challenges in headache treatment, Dr. Bussone says, is that most of the symptoms are subjective. Patients describe them, but there is little that doctors can objectively measure and verify.

Because of this, doctors need to learn to develop close relationships with patients. This close relationship helps with diagnosis because patients will be more open in talking about their symptoms and doctors will be more responsive to patients’ words.

We Don’t Understand Headaches

Another big challenge in headache treatment is that we still don’t truly understand what headaches are or what causes them. Without an overarching theoretical understanding, doctors have to treat each headache individually. Careful listening will illuminate the aspects of this particular headache that make them unique, which can lead to more successful treatment and help avoid misdiagnosis.

In addition, Dr. Bussone says that this can help advance the field of headache medicine, as it did when a doctor figured out that cluster headaches were linked by time, simply by listening to his patients.

Causes Can Be Complex

Another problem with headaches is that they often have more than one cause. People suffering headaches can be experiencing them not as the result of a single cause, but because of several potential overlapping causes. Successful treatment, then, will depend on listening for multiple contributing causes.

This, Dr. Bussone says, is a challenge for doctors, who are often listening for one or two specific words that they think will “unlock” the mystery of headaches. Instead, doctors need to listen and encourage patients to speak until they’ve illuminated all the potential causes of their headaches.

Find a Doctor with Empathy

Dr. Bussone’s recommendations run counter to the predominant trend in modern medicine. Instead of taking the time to really listen to patients, these days doctors are more likely to try to rush patients through in order to meet their daily quota of treated patients. This can make it hard to get successful headache treatment.

However, there are some doctors who are prepared to take the time to work with you to understand your symptoms and their causes. Detroit-area neuromuscular dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad is one of these doctors. He is prepared to take the time to listen to your symptoms and help you discover the one or multiple causes that could be behind them. He is patient and understanding. He has many tools that can provide some objective measurements that can illuminate headache causes like TMJ, even if this is only a contributing cause. The combination of personal empathy and advanced tools put Dr. Haddad in a great position to treat headaches where other doctors have failed.

Would you like to learn whether Dr. Haddad can treat your headaches? Please call (248) 480-0085 today for an appointment at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness in Rochester Hills.