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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Talking to Your Doctor About Headache

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with headaches. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will help you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
  • Think about keeping a diary of your symptoms, triggers, and a list of your medicines. Share this with your doctor at every visit

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Headache
  • What type of headaches do I have?
  • Can a person have more than one type of headache?
About Your Risk of Getting Headaches
  • Based on my health, lifestyle, and family history, am I at risk for headaches?
  • Am I taking any medicine that puts me at higher risk?
  • How do I prevent headaches?
About Treatments
  • How do I treat my headache?
  • What medicines are right for me?
    • What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
    • Will they cause problems with other medicines, over the counter products, or supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Should I make changes to the foods that I eat? How do I start?
  • Will exercise help?
    • What kind of exercise is best?
    • How often should I workout?
    • How do I get started?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
About Your Outlook
  • How do I know that the changes I am making are working?
  • Will I always have headaches?

References

Cluster headache. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cluster-headache. Accessed March 9, 2022.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed March 9, 2022.
Headache information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Headache-Information-Page. Accessed March 9, 2022.
Migraine in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/migraine-in-adults. Accessed March 9, 2022.
Tension-type headache. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/tension-type-headache. Accessed March 9, 2022.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2021
  • Update Date: 03/09/2022