So although Dr. Mechtler, (and our team) sees most of the headaches that come to our headache clinic, really every doctor, physician assitant and nurse practitioner in our practice sees and treats patients. We are also a teaching facility and routinely have residents, PA and NP students and pharmacy students all learning how to treat headache patients.
- Inpatient vs Outpatient Clinics
What Is A Headache Clinic?
An inpatient headache center is usually located within a hospital. Good examples of such a clinic are The Michigan Head and Pain Institutein Ann Harbor, MI, and the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia, PA. Each of these centers allows for a headache patient to be fully evaluated and placed in the hospital to break the cycle of pain. Generally, the patients seen at these places have not responded well to treatment in an outpatient setting, or have seen multiple physicians for their headaches with little relief.
In this case, a patient is put in a hospital bed and a variety of treatments are performed to break the cycle of pain. Most of the time these are for chronic daily headache people. If you do not have a place such as this in your state, then you can petition your insurance company to allow "out of area" services,to visit an inpatient center in another state. Most of the time they will cover a significant percentage of the cost. Since everyone's plan is different, you must discuss this with your neurologist and enlist their help to write letters to your insurance company.
An outpatient headache clinic is where the patient is seen and managed through multiple visits to the office, but hospital visits are not part of the treatment. The Dent Headache Center where I work is an outpatient center. Most good outpatient centers offer a variety of services to treat a chronic pain syndrome. These services usually include:
- A headache specialist as medical director
- A staff trained in the special needs of headache patients
- Neuroimaging services such as MRI or CT scans
- An infusion center to treat severe pain
- Neuropsychiatric testing
- Alternative therapies such as acupucture, biofeedback and massage
- Psychological counseling
- Physical therapy
- A pharmacy that does compounding of special medications
- Research studies in headache for patients who qualify
All of the above may or may not be available in every clinic, but a good clinic will have most available and if they don't, they would have a list of services in the immediate area to meet the needs of their patients.
For more information, visit my resources page to find locations of national headache centers. REVISIT the page as I am constantly updating! I also have a list of headache clinics in the United States. The list includes the names of board certified headache specialists.