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What is a Headache Specialist?

A headache specialist is someone who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of painful disorders of the head, face and neck. This is not to be confused with nerve block or pain clinics who attempt to treat headaches.

The Neurologist: As far as the Michigan Headache Clinic is concerned, a headache specialist must be a well-trained neurologist with special certification in Headache Medicine. We believe that a neurologist can best interpret symptoms which relate to the nervous system. Many dangerous conditions can produce headache as a presenting sign and careful investigation is often needed to make a safe and accurate diagnosis.

Credentials: Not everyone who practices neurology is actually certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, which is the official Neurology board. Not all neurology graduates are even eligible to take the arduous certification examination and only a portion will pass it.

To check neurology credentials, you may use the American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) website, at no charge. http://www.abms.org/ . The ABMS exists to protect patients from unqualified practitioners.

Likewise, not everone who claims to be a headache specialist is actually certified in Headache Medicine. The United Council of Neurological Subspecialties (UCNS) is the official accrediting board for headache specialists. You can find a list of certified headache specialists here.

In summary, Headache Medicine incorporates the disciplines of general neurology, psychiatry and internal medicine and adds the very specific discipline of treating headache disorders.

Dr. Messina is certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and in Headache Medicine by the United Council of Neurological Subspecialties.