Headache and Facial Pain Clinic

The Stanford Headache and Facial Pain Clinic treats all types of headaches including migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, hypnic headaches and cluster headaches.

Our Doctors

Care and Treatment of Headaches

Headache College

Migraine 101: A 3-Step Guide to Managing Headaches

Why me? Every headache sufferer asks this question at some point. In this video, Robert Cowan, MD, migraine researcher and director of our Headache and Facial Pain Clinic, shares his insights on how to manage your migraines—a condition that he and the more than 10,000 patients he has cared for suffer from.

Getting started

Before your clinic appointment, our doctors recommend that you proactively monitor your symptoms for one to three months, using the steps outlined in the video. This will help maximize your clinic visit and migraine care.

Step 1: Observation and self-awareness

Not everyone gets headaches for the same reasons. It is important to observe your own patterns of behavior to identify the things that contribute to and trigger headaches. A great way to get started is with a headache diary.

By recording your headache frequency and severity, time of onset and similar information, you may begin to see patterns that are more obvious than when you simply reflect back on your headaches. Once you have your observations, your doctor can make a diagnosis.

Step 2: The plan

A good treatment strategy has several parts, including rescue or acute treatment and prevention.

  • Rescue or acute treatment: Medication is the cornerstone of treatment. But it is also important to have a strategy in place to hand off your responsibilities and have a safe, quiet, dark place to go to for rest.
  • Prevention: Strategies you put in place to decrease your sensitivity to environmental stressors that trigger headaches will help prevent them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Biofeedback, physical therapy, stress management, integrative medicine and other strategies are also essential to good outcomes for many patients.

Step 3: Lifestyle modification

Lifestyle modification is often the most important, beneficial piece of the puzzle. The goal is to maintain consistent sleep, eating and exercise patterns. These three behaviors influence changes in your body's hormonal cycles. By maintaining consistency in these cycles, your body is better able to anticipate and adapt without spiraling out of control and into migraine.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

For Patients

We will work with your insurance company to secure authorization prior to your visit. If we do not have authorization before your visit, you will be required to pay.

Please confirm the location of your appointment as our doctors see patients in multiple locations.


Return the completed headache history form at least one week prior to your first appointment.

Your first clinic visit may last up to three hours.

International Patients
Phone: +1 650-723-8561
Email: IMS@stanfordmed.org

For Health Care Professionals


Phone: 1-866-742-4811 
Fax: 650-320-9443
Monday – Friday,  8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Phone: 1-800-800-1551,  24 hours - 7 days a week

Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics) provides comprehensive services to refer and track patients, as well as provides the latest information and news for physicians and office staff. For help with all referral needs and questions visit Referring Physicians.


Fax a referral form with supporting documentation to 650-320-9443.

Track your patients' progress and communicate with Stanford providers securely online.

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