We want to make sure that the The Cascade Neurologic Headache Clinic is the right match for you. To help you make this decision, we want to describe carefully who we are, what we offer and how we are unique. We also want to be clear about which patients may not be the best fit.
What type of conditions do we treat?
Basically we treat anything that hurts from the neck upward. Most of our patients have severe migraine headache disorders, but we see all types of headache and face pain problems. We also see migraine patients who have aura (neurological symptoms) but no actual head pain. We think our greatest work is among those patients who are complex, failed other treatments yet are still motivated to get well.
How do we make an accurate diagnosis?
The world’s main headache research body, the International Headache Society, has identified almost 300 unique headache types. To make the precise diagnosis, it takes a lot of training, experience and listening.
J. Michael Jones, MPAS-C was trained for four years at the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, the first inpatient headache treatment center in the world. His mentor was Joel Saper, MD, the only recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Headache Medicine. Michael had an additional five years of training at Mayo Clinic’s prestigious Headache Division in Rochester, MN. He is certified in Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (CAQ), by the National Headache Foundation.
Many patients worry that some underlying, dangerous problem is causing their headaches. Fortunately, the vast majority of headache disorders are benign, meaning that they are not life threatening, although they can ruin someone’s quality of life. We do occasionally diagnose an underlying illness that is contributing to, or causing, the headaches, but those cases are the exception.
What kind of treatments do we offer?
J. Michael Jones, MPAS-C was trained in the model of evidence-based medicine. This simply means that they feel that they have the moral obligation to only offer patients treatments that have been proven to be effective and also safe. We also encourage patients to seek care with complementary and alternative techniques and will help to coordinate that care if desired.
The evidence points to four avenues of treatment that appear to benefit patients. The first one is trigger identification and avoidance. The second one is all the techniques that involve active and hands-on treatment, from acupuncture to Zumba.
The third approach to treatment is dietary supplements. We recommend those that have proven to be safe and effective through placebo-controlled studies and that have been endorsed by the major headache research societies.
The last approach is with prescription medications that prevent headaches from coming and/or to turn them off if they start. While medications clearly have the greatest efficacy (and over thirty have been identified as being helpful), we recognize that not every patient wants to try them.
The procedures that we do include infusions for reversing difficult headache cycles, Botox for Chronic Migraine, cranial nerve blocks and Sphenopalatine Ganglion nerve blocks.
What kind of patient is not a good fit for Cascade Neurologic Headache Center?
Our number one goal is that patients get well and have a better quality of life. This is done by decreasing the number of headache and making them more manageable when they come. Some patients have different reasons for seeking care.
It has well been documented by international headache research that if pain medications are used too frequently (more than two days per week), they will invariably cause headaches to worsen, become more difficult to treat and diminish the patient’s quality of life. If a patient chooses to come to us, not to get well, but to only find another source of narcotics, we are not the right clinic for you.
A few patients have perceived need to document their pain so that they can either get disability or other financial gain. While there is a place for compensation for injuries and a rare place for disability for headache disorders, “documenting pain” is not our calling. Our calling is to help people get well. If a patient only has the motive of pain documentation for their lawyer and don’t want to work to get better, then coming here would be a waste of both the patient and provider’s time. Studies have shown that patients who have a financial incentive to have headaches, never get well. Our goal is to help people get well.
If a patient is looking for a quick headache treatment gimmick, we may not be the right place. Gimmicks come and go as do other health fads. We are committed to the honest truth of the real cause of headaches and effective treatments. Headaches rarely have a simple, fixable cause.