UK headache clinic among top 20, and affiliated orofacial pain program is only one in Midwest or South; they give relief

Headache sufferers often struggle with finding the right treatment, and some even find themselves on medications that don’t work and become completely unable to function. One of those found relief at the headache clinic at the University of Kentucky.

Tonya Morgan, a 30-year-old chemist, got a debilitating migraine headache that wouldn’t go away in 2011. Before she connected with the UK clinic, she had seen many doctors and was taking as many as 30 different types of medicine a day to no avail, and had been given a recommendation from the Cleveland Clinic after an 11-week evaluation, for “extremely risky brain surgery,” says a UK news release. “I was so sensitive to noise that I could lie in my bed and hear my mother down the hall eating potato chips. Going to a restaurant, driving, going to church — all of those became unbearable. I was miserable,” Morgan said.

Her doctor is Dr. Siddharth Kapoor, director of the Headache Clinic at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at UK HealthCare. He and Dr. Jonathan Smith are part of the headache program at UK that is considered among the top 20 accredited programs in the country, according to the release. It uses a multidisciplinary approach; UK HealthCare‘s orofacial pain program, which complements the services of the headache clinic, is one of just 12 accredited programs nationally, and the only one in the entire Midwest and South.
Kapoor’s strategy, says the release, includes spending enough time with the patient to find out as much as he can about their headaches and finding the most effective way to get rid of them. “Headache is an extremely complex neurological process, and there usually isn’t a quick fix for pain relief,” Kapoor said. “Unless you spend a lot of time with each patient, listening to their problems and asking a lot of questions, it’s nearly impossible to find the right way to help them.”

Kapoor tried several different treatments on Morgan before they found the most effective: radio-frequency ablation, during which a high-frequency electric current was targeted at specific nerves in the brain, destroying the tissue responsible for her headaches. She is now headache free and has resumed a “normal life,” the release says.

Headaches and other chronic pain affect more than 36 million Americans, and many of them don’t seek help — or see doctors who aren’t completely aware of the full range of pain management, according to the release. Smith said there are many myths surrounding headache causes, such as foods or changes in blood vessels in the brain, and the UK clinic can “attack headache on many fronts.” 

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