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Headaches & migraines

Don’t let headaches and migraines rule your life

Headaches can interfere with your work and life activities and left untreated, they can be debilitating.

At Novant Health UVA Health System, we can diagnose and care for headaches, including migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches.


Migraines occur more often in women than in men.

Triggers or causes may include:

  • Stress
  • Certain foods and odors
  • Loud noises
  • Cigarette and cigar smoke
  • Hormonal changes

Symptoms of migraines may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, aura, fatigue, dizziness and balance problems.

Cluster headaches

A cluster headache is the most severe type of headache. If you suffer from cluster headaches, you may wake up in the middle of the night from the pain; you may visit the emergency room on a regular basis. Traditional medication management does not work for cluster headaches. Cluster headaches occur in cycles with the average cycle lasting up to six weeks. During a cycle, you may have many severe headaches.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are more common than migraines and cluster headaches. They cause mild to moderate symptoms but can last for up to a week. Unlike migraine headaches, they do not cause nausea.

If you suffer from headaches and experience one or more of the following, you should be evaluated by a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment:

  • Frequency and severity of headaches interfere with work and leisure activities
  • Current treatment plan does not work
  • You take many over-the-counter medications to keep your headaches under control
  • You visit the emergency room often due to headaches
  • You are on disability because of headaches
  • The type and/or severity of your headaches recently changed
  • You are over age 50 and recently had a new type of headache

Our goal is to give you an accurate diagnosis and provide personalized care to help you and your family cope with your headaches and maximize your quality of life. If headaches have a significant impact on your health and daily activities, contact the team at Novant Health UVA Health System for specialized care.

For information on stroke and vascular diseases of the brain and spine, check out our health library and healthcare resources.