An introduction to diagnosis and management of headache
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An introduction to diagnosis and management of headache

Clare Scott Clinical nurse specialist, Pain Service, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Pain Management Centre, Charing Cross Hospital, London

Headache is a common, painful event that can be acute and/or chronic in nature. This article aims to give readers an insight into the condition by covering issues related to classification, diagnosis and management. The article highlights the importance of establishing whether headache is a secondary symptom of another disease process or a primary condition. Classification of headache and effective history taking are essential to this process. Headache associated with withdrawal from pain medication is also discussed. The different management strategies available, and how chronic conditions are best treated in a specialist centre, are considered. The goal of headache management is for patients and healthcare professionals to work together to minimise pain and improve quality of life.

Nursing Standard. 26, 13, 35-38. doi: 10.7748/ns2011.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review