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Getting Your Headaches Checked

Getting Your Headaches Checked: How to Prepare for Your Doctor’s Appointment

Headaches are usually nothing to worry about, but in some cases, a trip to the doctor may be beneficial. There are several reasons for you to seek medical help for your headaches. If you are experiencing an increase in headache frequency, if the severity of your headaches is escalating, or if you’re experiencing a new type of headache, you really should consider seeing a doctor. Your primary care physician or a headache specialist can help you understand what’s causing your headaches and manage the pain. If there’s an underlying condition that’s causing the headache, your doctor can refer you to a specialist who can provide you with the proper treatment.

Getting Ready to See Your Doctor

Coming to see your doctor is the first step towards better headache management and pain relief, but before you make the drive to the clinic or hospital, you should prepare yourself for what’s going to happen during your consultation session. The first thing your doctor will do when you tell him or her about your problem is ask you about your headaches. Here are some of the things you should expect to be asked about during your appointment.

  • Description of the pain. You will be asked what type of pain you’re experiencing, where it hurts, and how severe the pain is.
  • Frequency and duration. Expect to be asked about how long each episode lasts, how often you experience the headaches, and in some cases, how long you stay pain-free before you experience another episode. It’s better if you can give more specific information like what day of the week or what time of the day you experience your headaches.
  • Possible headache triggers. You should take note of anything you may have eaten or drunk prior, or any activities you may have done prior to each headache episode. This can help identify possible triggers that may cause your headache episodes.
  • Prior treatment methods. Most, if not all, people who experience headaches self-medicate before seeing a doctor. By letting your doctor know what medication you’ve taken or what alternative treatment methods you’ve tried, it makes it easier to create a treatment plan that would work for you.
  • Other symptoms experienced. If you’re experiencing other symptoms before, during, or after your headache episodes, let your doctor know about it. This can help rule out or pinpoint an underlying condition as the cause of the headache.

The best way to remember all of this information is to keep a headache diary. Log everything down and refer to it when speaking with a primary care physician or a headache specialist. It may take a while to get all the information together, but if your headaches are getting worse or you feel that you need emergency medical care, don’t wait any longer. Just try to remember as much information as you can and try to answer your doctor’s questions as best as you can.

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