Headache Program

When a child suffers severe or frequent headaches, it can interfere with school, family and social relationships. Our Pediatric Headache Program is the first on the West coast to focus on diagnosing and treating all types of debilitating headaches in children. Our goal is to relieve your child's pain and get them back to enjoying their normal activities.

Our specialists – pediatric neurologists with expertise in childhood headache – work closely with patients and their primary care doctors to develop effective, long-term treatment plans. Depending on your child's needs, we may work with other types of specialists, such as neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists and ophthalmologists. We also collaborate with experts at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, which combines alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbs, massage and meditation with conventional headache treatments.

As a research center, we're exploring potential new treatments for headache, as well as ways to improve existing therapies. Your child may have the option to receive an experimental treatment by joining a clinical trial.

What to Expect

At your child's first visit, one of our pediatric headache specialists will take a detailed medical history and perform a careful exam to determine the underlying cause of the headaches. We will then discuss treatment options. Because UCSF is an academic medical center, your child may see doctors who are completing specialty training under the supervision of one of our faculty members. Some families also meet with our pain psychologist.

At later visits, the specialist will continue to monitor your child's condition and adjust the treatment plan as needed. At each visit we will coordinate our care with your child's primary care doctor.

Our locations (2)

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    Awards & recognition

    • us news ranked in 10 specialites badge 2020-2021

      Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • One of the nation's best in neurology & neurosurgery

    • in NIH funding among U.S. neurology programs

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes