What You Should Do if You Plan to See a Doctor in Our Practice for Your Headache?
Be prepared for the detailed interview. Our doctor can diagnose your headache with the information you provide during the interview
- The age at which you first experienced headaches
- A description of the different types of headaches you experience
- When your current headache began and whether it is episodic or nearly continuous
- The four main characteristics of your headache: quality (pressing, throbbing); intensity (mild, moderate, severe); location (unilateral, bilateral); and response to physical activities
- Headache accompaniments, such as nausea, vomiting, high sensitivity to light or noise , and auras (visual, sensory or other neurological disturbances prior to headache)
- Detailed information about your use of pain killers, particularly non-prescription pills such as aspirin and ibuprofen as well as any prescription medications
Your physical and neurological examinations will be based on the information you provided in the history of complaint. The quality of the information you provide allows the doctor to be able to diagnose your headache.
Frequently asked questions
QHow common are headaches in adults?
According to the National Headache Foundation, more than 45 million Americans suffer from chronic and recurring headaches
QWhat are the causes of headaches?
There are two types of headaches: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with (caused by) other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.
Secondary headaches are caused by associated diseases that range from serious and life threatening conditions such as brain tumors, strokes, meningitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhages to less serious but common conditions such as withdrawal from caffeine and discontinuation of analgesics.
QHow are headaches diagnosed?
The most important part of the headache evaluation is the headache history and history of headache treatments.
After completing the headache history portion of the evaluation, the doctor will perform a complete physical and neurological examination.
Additional diagnostic tests such as: blood tests, CT scans, MRI, or lumbar puncture (spinal tap) might be needed to rule out other potentially serious medical conditions.
Your doctor decides which patients should undergo these special tests. To make such decisions, doctor relies upon information obtained from your initial interview and physical examination.
QHow are headaches treated?
The proper treatment will depend on several factors, including the type and frequency of the headache and its cause. Treatment may include medication, stress management, diet and biofeedback.
Medications may be recommended to manage headache pain. Headache medications can be grouped into three different categories: symptomatic relief, abortive therapy, and preventive therapy
Stress Reduction and Rest
Worry, anxiety, and anger may aggravate headaches.
Sleep habits are also important. It’s best to go to bed and get up at about the same time each day, since this helps to regulate and stabilize the brain’s biological clocks. To make up for lost sleep, set the alarm clock no more than one hour later than usual and try taking a rest or nap later in the day if necessary. Some people with frequent headaches either have difficultly falling asleep or wake up too early in the morning and are then unable to get back to sleep. If this is a problem, it should be discussed with a physician.
Exercise may help ward off headaches through the release in the brain of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Exercise also increases energy, well-being, and can build self-confidence. The simplest exercise program of all, and one of the safest, consists of regular brisk walking. Just be careful not to overdo any new exercise program and check with your physician.
Keeping a headache diary may help you determine which foods, beverages, or combinations may trigger your headaches so you can avoid them in the future. There may be a “lag period” of 3-12 hours between the consumption of the trigger and the onset of the headache.
QWhat happens next?
When we start a treatment program, we keep track of the results and how the treatment program is working. Keep your follow-up appointments with your doctor so that your progress can be monitored and changes are made in your treatment program if necessary.