You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. In some cases, you may be referred to a neurologist. It's good to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restricting your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including past illnesses and operations, major stresses or recent life changes, and any medical problems that run in your family.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For exercise headaches, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take home? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Apr. 21, 2012
- When did you begin experiencing exercise headaches?
- Have your exercise headaches been continuous or occasional?
- Have you had a similar problem in the past?
- Have you had other kinds of headaches? Describe them.
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced migraine headaches or exercise headaches?
- What, if anything, seems to help your headaches?
- What, if anything, makes your headaches worse?
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Jan. 31, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9094791. Accessed Jan. 31, 2012.
- Lange SE. Primary headache disorders in the emergency department. Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal. 2011;33:237.
- Pasqual J. Other primary headaches. Neurologic Clinics. 2009;27:557.
- Primary exertional headache. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/04.03.00_other.html. Accessed Jan. 31, 2012.
- Wong WS, et al. The "other" headaches: Primary cough, exertion, sex and primary stabbing headaches. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2010;14:41.
- Exertional headaches. National Headache Foundation. http://www.headaches.org/education/Headache_Topic_Sheets/Exertional_Headaches. Accessed Jan. 31, 2012.
- Evers S, et al. Treatment of miscellaneous idiopathic headache disorders (group 4 of the IHS classification) — report of an EFNS task force. European Journal of Neurology. 2011;18:803.
- Bartleson JD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 13, 2012.
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