Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Headache Center: Ending the Pain and Helping Patients Enjoy Life Again



By M.G. Angulo –

Lauren Anderson has struggled with migraine headaches for most of her life. When her headaches struck, as they did again and again, she often missed out on the every-day joys of being a mom, like spending time with her daughter reading or working on a coloring book together.

“I was at the point where I was getting migraines every single day,” Anderson said. “They take up so much of your life – you have no idea. I decided it was time to see a specialist.”

Anderson’s search for answers brought her to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Headache Center, where a specialized team of neurologists works to help patients manage their conditions and return to normal living. Today, Anderson is on a customized treatment plan that is minimizing her headaches and allowing her to enjoy life again. “It’s working,” she said. “I’m excited about the progress I’ve made.”

Eddie L. Patton Jr., M.D. conferring with Lauren Anderson. Photography by Nesossi Studios.

Eddie L. Patton Jr., M.D. conferring with Lauren Anderson. Photography by Nesossi Studios.

The Headache Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital helps patients suffering from headaches of any kind including cluster headaches, migraines and tension headaches. With personalized, hands-on care, the center’s experts can help anyone who experiences recurring headache pain.

“An individualized approach to headache care is a necessity because there is no blanket approach that works for everyone,” said Maureen Lall, NP, the center’s neuroscience coordinator. “Every individual is different, and every patient requires a customized treatment plan that is tailored to his or her unique needs.”

Migraines typically cause a throbbing pain on one side of the head. They can last for hours and are usually accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and sound, along with nausea and/or vomiting. The discomfort is often so intense that the only relief is a dark and quiet place to rest and ride out the pain. But while patients are suffering, life around them keeps on going on – and they miss out.

Bringing Solace to Suffering

300-shuklaSpecialists with the Headache Center begin by discus-sing patients’ medical history as well as the possible factors triggering headaches. “Our first goal is to really listen to our patients and understand how headaches are impacting their lives,” said Dr. Eddie Patton Jr. “The more we know, the better we can address the problem and find solutions.”

That means identifying all of the factors that may be contributing to headaches, such as diet, stress levels, family history and the patient’s work and home environment. A full physical exam follows.

300-liewBuilding communication and trust is the key to unlocking answers for each patient. “From the moment I arrived to my appointment, the staff made me feel like family,” said Anderson. “Immediately, my doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, made me feel like I could tell him anything. He was open and honest, and he explained everything in terms I could understand – what I call ‘real people talk’ – not with heavy medical jargon. It was a nice experience. Dr. Jackson has since retired from clinical practice, but I look forward to working with Dr. Eddie Patton, Jr. to continue my treatment plan.”

Anderson also likes the ability to quickly and easily make an appointment to see a specialist. When she first came across Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Headache Center online, she sent an email requesting more information. The following day, she received a call from the center, and two days later, she was in the doctor’s office. “The turnaround time to schedule an appointment happened in less than 48 hours, and the staff is very professional and compassionate,” Anderson said.

300-pattonAccording to Lall, Anderson’s situation is not unique. All patients receive expedited access to the center’s world-class team of headache specialists, usually within five or fewer days. Additionally, there is no so-called “headache requirement” to call – no need to keep track of how many headaches you have a week or their intensity. The rule is simple, Lall said. “If headaches are bothering you, you should be seen by a specialist. If you are concerned, we are here to help.”

Treated by the Best

The Headache Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is staffed by six physicians, all of whom are board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. They specialize in identifying the causes of headaches and developing treatment plans that work.

“The doctors at the Headache Center truly care about getting you out of your pain,” said Anderson, “but they also care about why you’re in the situation you’re in. They want to help you return to a normal lifestyle.”

300-tranWith more than 22 years of experience providing comprehensive and specialized care, Dr. Amitabh Shukla said he treats all of his patients with “excellence, care, compassion, respect and integrity.” It’s a sentiment that runs throughout the Headache Center’s team.

“My goal is to provide superior care to my patients,” said Dr. Irfan Lalani. “I work with my patients to evaluate and formulate comprehensive diagnostic and treatment plans. My goal is to improve the quality of life for my patients.”

300-khanThe treatment options at the Headache Center include lifestyle and dietary counseling; stress and medication management; infusion therapy and Botox treatments, which are used for chronic migraines.

“The Headache Center is just part of the comprehensive neuroscience services that Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital brings to Fort Bend and surrounding areas,” said Dr. Rajesh Bindal, a neurosurgeon who serves as the hospital’s neuroscience medical director. “Our community benefits from having this type of expert care close to home along with other neuroscience services such as stroke, spine, epilepsy, memory disorders, movement disorders, etc.”

To schedule an appointment with the specialists at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Headache Center, call 281-276-8999 or email headachecenter@houstonmethodist.org.

The Varieties of Headaches

Headaches can come and go with no warning and no clear cause. Other times, they can be a symptom of another disease or condition. Knowing the symptoms of different types of headaches can help you get the appropriate treatment.

Tension Headache

Your headache might be due to tension if the pain is dull and achy. Tension headaches are also usually accompanied by a sore neck and can often be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.


A migraine is characterized by throbbing, severe pain that lasts from four to 72 hours. The pain can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. If you feel the symptoms of a migraine coming on, rest in a quiet, dark room. A hot or cold compress on the forehead can help, as can trying to sleep. If home remedies don’t work, talk to your physician about other non-drug therapies or prescription medications.

Chronic Headache

If you experience headaches more than 14 days in a month, you might have chronic headaches. They can feel moderate to severe, and they may be a sign of an underlying condition.

Rebound Headache

Sometimes, the solution to a headache can make them worse. If you take pain medication for headaches often, and the headache returns, you might be experiencing a rebound headache. The only way to stop the cycle of rebound headaches is to discontinue the use of that particular medication.

Cluster Headache

A cluster headache is a rare condition that affects fewer than one percent of adults. It is characterized by a sharp, severe pain that is often only on one side of the head. It is very painful, but lasts a short time — about 45 to 90 minutes.

If you suffer from frequent headaches, contact: Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Headache Center 16655 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, Texas 77479, 281.276.8999, headachecenter@houstonmethodist.org.