How to Ensure A Correct Diagnosis for Your Headache
Even though headaches afflict a large number of people, very few actually consider seeing a doctor. Headaches are not taken seriously because they are mostly episodic, not contagious and are rarely known to cause deaths. The individuals who do end up visiting the doctor's clinic are those who can no longer bear the pain or want to eliminate fear that the headache could be a symptom of a more serious illness. Either way, treating frequent headaches effectively can go a long way in improving your quality of life.
Correct Diagnosis is the Key
Even though headaches are extremely common, diagnosing the exact cause of the pain can be a challenge. The reason is simple. There are many kinds of headaches and it can be difficult to identify the exact trigger causing the headache. In the absence of any precise clinical tests to diagnose headaches, it becomes paramount for the patient to work with the practitioner closely. The more detailed and accurate the patient's information, the more correct the diagnosis is likely to be. Keep a headache diary so you have all the details handy.
Getting It Right: What The Doctor Will Need To Know
Once the doctor hears your symptoms, he/she might take a call on whether any tests need to be conducted to rule out any secondary cause for the headache. In rare cases, the headache could be a symptom of a different illness and most physicians want to rule out that chance. A physical exam and a neurological evaluation could be taken to detect any underlying causes. In most cases, the headache is not connected to any secondary condition. The physician will then largely base his diagnosis on the description provided by the patient and arrive at possible reasons for the headache.
The doctor will need to know all aspects related to the headache:
- Frequency of the headache: How frequently does your headache occur in a month or a year? Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They can be chronic (lasting many days) or episodic (intermittent). Migraines also tend to be chronic in nature. Cluster headaches last for many days and will likely occur every month for several days.
- Type of pain: Migraine pain is normally throbbing or pulsating. Tension headaches are a mild, nagging headache. Cluster headaches are recurrent, severe headaches felt on one side of the head.
- Symptoms accompanying the headache: Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting are symptoms of a migraine. Light and sound sensitivity are also felt during a migraine. Neck stiffness and tenderness can occur in the case of tension headaches.
- Time of day when the headache occurs: Cluster headaches tend to occur in the middle of the night. The pain is so severe, it wakes up the person from a sound sleep. Migraine sufferers wake up with a headache in the morning. Tension headaches are caused during periods of stress.
The physician's diagnosis and treatment will depend on the answers he/she gets from the patient. At The New Jersey Headache Institute our focus has always been on expert headache diagnosis. We take time to carefully explore the patient's condition and ensure that the root cause of the headache is addressed. This enables us to come up with the best and most effective treatment plan. Get your headache diagnosis today. Call us at 908.315.5707 or use our contact form to book a consultation.