Anyone plagued by recurrent headaches eventually becomes desperate to find out what causes them and how to make them disappear. That’s what drives patients to Jefferson Headache Center, a mecca for treatment as well as research and one of the very few academic headache centers in the county. Much of the center’s lofty reputation emanates from founding director Stephen Silberstein, who has published broadly in medical journals, lectures worldwide, and is often quoted in popular magazines. A typical patient is the paralegal who had been dosing herself with a daily fix of acetaminophen when the pounding in her head became so severe that she couldn’t look at the computer screen. After she underwent a battery of tests and screenings, doctors discovered she was exasperating her problem with medication overuse. Once she was detoxified and switched to a preventive headache medication, she improved rapidly. More complicated causes may require ongoing treatment by the center’s group of specialists, which include neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and nurse practitioners. Patients also have the opportunity to take part in clinical drug trial. Most of the important headache drugs, particularly for migraines, have been studied here, and breakthrough techniques have been developed to prevent or ease migraines (Gibbon Building, 111 South 11th Street, suite 8130, 800-JEFF-NOW, Jefferson.edu/headache).
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