Headaches are one of the most common symptoms people experience. Headaches are common in part because they have so many potential causes. With many potential causes of headaches, the possibility of misdiagnosis is high.

Here are seven signs that you might want to get a second opinion about your headache diagnosis. If you are looking for a second opinion, Columbia, SC, TMJ dentist, Dr. Adam Hahn can help. He has a different perspective on headaches and has helped many people in Columbia get lasting relief from headaches related to temporomandibular joint disorders (also referred to as TMJ or TMD).

adult woman sitting at a desk and holding her head in pain

#1 Your First Opinion Didn’t Come from a Doctor

These days, people have more tools than ever to form their own opinion about what is causing their headaches. If it’s not you, it may be a family member or friend who has done the research and discovered the reason behind your headaches.

While internet research can help you make healthcare decisions, if your only current perspective on your headaches comes from Dr. Google, it’s time to get a real opinion from a real doctor. Getting an opinion from a real doctor will likely be an eye-opener. They may have considered possibilities that you didn’t come across in your search or didn’t consider thoroughly.

#2 Diagnosis Doesn’t Match Symptoms

Sometimes, the opinion that your doctor gives doesn’t reflect your actual symptoms. Hopefully, you mentioned all your symptoms to your doctor. However, it’s not that unusual for doctors to not pay close attention to the symptoms people mention. It is an unfortunately widespread problem that doctors don’t believe or don’t credit the symptoms that some of their patients report.

Columbia, TMJ dentist Dr. Hahn often hears this from patients, and it can lead to people suffering symptoms for years longer than necessary. If you think your diagnosis doesn’t match your headaches, it’s important to get a second opinion, especially if you think your doctor wasn’t listening to you.

#3 Diagnosis Is Serious, Rare, and Incurable

You should also get a second opinion if your doctor diagnoses you with a bizarre, rare, serious, or even incurable condition.

These rare conditions usually do exist, and you might be the one-in-a-million person who has it. However, it’s best to be sure that’s what you really have before you try whatever treatment your strange condition requires.

#4 New, Unproven, or Experimental Treatment

Often, the flip side of the rare condition diagnosis is a recommendation for a new, unproven, or experimental treatment. While new treatments are being developed all the time, and some offer improved results over old treatments, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start treatment.

Ask your current doctor a few questions about the treatment, including:

  • What evidence do you have that this treatment works?
  • What are the likely side effects of this treatment?
  • Why isn’t this treatment more widely-used?
  • Do you have any financial stake in this treatment?

If you don’t like or don’t trust your doctor’s answers to any of these questions, it’s time to find a new headache doctor in Columbia – and there are plenty to choose from. Even if you find the answers convincing, it’s not a bad idea to get another set of knowledgeable eyes to look over the information you’re given about this unproven treatment.

#5 You Aren’t Given Treatment Options

If there’s a positive side to the fact that headaches are so common and so varied, it’s that the treatment options are also typically common and varied. You should be dubious if your doctor tells you that there aren’t many treatment options for your headaches.

It might be true that there are just one or two treatments that work best for your condition. However, it might also be true that there are numerous other treatment options. While these might not be as effective generally, they might be more effective in your case. If your doctor won’t tell you about these other treatments, it’s time to talk to another doctor and see what they might have to say.

Columbia, TMJ dentist Dr. Hahn often hears from patients that their doctors never mentioned the possibility that TMJ treatment might improve or resolve their headaches without medication.

#6 Headache Treatment Isn’t Working

Once you start headache treatment, you might still consider getting a second opinion if the treatment isn’t working. Experts agree: the number one reason why a headache treatment might not work is that you have a wrong or incomplete diagnosis of your condition.

Consider a headache treatment unsuccessful if your headaches:

  • Are at least as frequent as before treatment
  • Are at least as severe as before treatment
  • Interfere with daily life

A successful headache treatment should either make your headaches less severe or less frequent. Ideally, it should do both. In addition, it should be enough of an improvement that your headaches no longer interfere with your daily life. If you are still having trouble sleeping, are missing work frequently, or are canceling enjoyable activities because of your headaches, you need to look for a new treatment option.

#7 You Don’t Like Treatment Side Effects

Many headache treatments, especially medications, come with significant side effects. Sometimes these side effects can be as bad as or worse than the headaches themselves.

If you are getting good headache relief but the side effects are equally disruptive, then it might be time to get a second opinion about your headaches.

Talk to a Columbia TMJ Dentist about Headaches

If you’re unhappy under the care of your current headache doctor, maybe it’s time to consider a different approach. Talk to a TMJ dentist if you have multiple TMJ symptoms in addition to your headaches.

Columbia, TMJ dentist Dr. Adam Hahn has decades of experience helping people find relief from stubborn headaches. Talk to a TMJ dentist about headaches if you have multiple TMJ symptoms in addition to your headaches.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hahn, please call (803) 781-9090 or use our online form to contact Smile Columbia Dentistry, about 15 minutes from downtown, near Irmo.