Diagnosing headaches

Rapid, comprehensive and expert-led diagnosis and treatment plans
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Diagnosis and personalised treatment

It is important to see a specialist to get a proper diagnosis particularly before beginning any type of treatment. We see and treat our patients in our comprehensive network of outpatient clinics, diagnostic centres and hospitals.

Here, all patients can expect to receive a rapid, comprehensive and expert-led diagnosis and holistic treatment plan. This can range from simple advice through to medication, minimally-invasive modalities and, when needed, complex surgery undertaken using the latest evidence-based techniques.

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Consultant assessment

Patients referred to our clinic will be seen by a consultant neurologist with specific expertise in headache management. A comprehensive neurological assessment is combined with a careful assessment of the burden and impact on the patient's everyday life. A full range of investigations are also available, including:

  • MRI
  • contrast-enhanced MRI
  • MRI myelography
  • CT
  • cerebrospinal fluid analysis
  • cerebrospinal pressure monitoring
  • blood tests for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders
  • blood and CSF analysis for full range of infections
  • full endocrine profiles
  • cerebral angiography


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Personalised treatment plans designed with you

Treatment will reflect the latest evidence as well as the needs and wishes of each patient. Key elements of the care package may include:

  • lifestyle and headache trigger analysis and advice
  • results of investigations
  • on-going monitoring with headache diary
  • specific headache diagnosis
  • drug treatment, if required
  • management of acute headache episodes
  • gradual suppression of headache tendency
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Headaches and facial pain

To get an accurate diagnosis for chronic headache and facial pain can be difficult, as there are many possible causes and ways pain can present itself. The Headache and Facial Pain Service at 78 Harley Street, is a dedicated team of expert consultant neurologists and neurosurgeons working with state-of-the-art diagnostics to offer some of the best support and interventions that London and the UK has to offer.

What to expect when you visit a HCA UK neurologist

Our facilities incorporate an extensive range of the most advanced technology and equipment to help diagnose and treat all neurological conditions. Our consultants are supported by leading radiologists and highly experienced senior radiographers and nurses. Any investigations can usually be carried out the same day and reported on within 24 hours.

What will happen 

During your initial meeting with your neurologist, we take a detailed history of the headaches and any other symptoms you are experiencing including:

  • How often they happen and how severe the pain usually is
  • A family history of headaches
  • Impact on your daily activities

If your neurologist feels you would benefit from a scan you will have:

  • Access to the widest range of imaging modalities in London and Manchester, including CT and MRI 
  • Access to same-day appointments available for scans across our network
  • Access to the best diagnosis because all our scans are reported by specialist neuroradiologist

Whether you are experiencing a relapse of migraine and need help to control it or you’re experiencing onset of a cluster headache we have the complete range of treatment available for you. State-of-the-art treatments are available, including neuromodulation with:

  • Preventative treatment such as Aimovig®, only available privately
  • Muscle relaxing injections
  • Cranial nerve blocks (e.g. greater occipital nerve block) 
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion block 
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation 
  • Vagal nerve stimulation 
  • Transcutaneous electrical stimulation 
  • Management of headache crises can include oral or intravenous medication

Psychological servicesYour neurologist will deal with most aspects of diagnosis and treatment for patients diagnosed with primary headache disorder, such as migraine. Where further specialist assessment is required, patients can be referred to experts within the team in the following specialist areas:

  • Ophthalmology - where disorders of the eye or orbit are suspected or where ophthalmology expertise may contribute to treatment.
  • Maxillofacial surgery - in cases where facial, dental or jaw conditions may be present.
  • ENT - for patients where sinus or related disease is suspected.
  • Pain Management - we provide individually tailored pain management plans

Should you require further ongoing management, we also provide access across London to:

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On-going nursing support

Monitoring and support is vital to patients. Our nursing support includes continued advice and support at every stage. For example, our nurses can offer guidance on: 

  • optimum self-management of headache
  • avoiding lifestyle triggers
  • monitoring and recording symptoms
  • arranging further follow up and advice from consultants

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.