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Seeking Medical Advice For Your Headaches

Updated on July 21, 2008

Seeking Medical Advice For Your Headaches

All headaches are not the same and it is important to know whether your particular headache is a common tension-type headache or a sinus, migraine or cluster headache. This is important because the treatments for different types are headache are themselves different and one recent study showed that ninety-seven percent of those participating in the study who were treating themselves for a sinus headache in fact had a mild form of migraine.

So, if you suffer from more than just the occasional headache once in a blue moon, you should pop along to see your doctor and get your headaches professionally diagnosed. However, it is not always easy for your doctor to diagnose a headache for you and so he will need your help and the best way you can assist him is by keeping a headache diary for perhaps a month or so before your visit.

Your headache diary should of course detail each headache noting exactly when it started and stopped as well as exactly what sort of pain you experienced. For example, are your headaches giving you general low grade pain throughout your head which tends to be fairly constant, or are you experiencing sharp stabbing pains in a particular area of your head which tend to throb or pulse? You should also note down alongside each headache entry what medication if any you took and whether or not it appeared to be effective.

But your headache diary needs to detail much more than just information about your headaches themselves. It also needs to record what you were doing when the headache came on and indeed in the hours before each headache arrived. Were you for example watching television, out shopping or working out at the gym?

Also keep a careful note of exactly what you ate and drank on the day of your headaches as many headaches can be triggered by such things as cheese, chocolate, coffee or alcohol.

In most cases keeping a headache diary will allow your doctor to quickly and easily diagnose your headache and propose a suitable course of treatment. However, in a few cases the root cause will still be a mystery and this generally means that your headaches are being caused by some underlying condition or disease which the doctor will then need to find.

At this point the doctor's approach will depend very much on your own personal medical history and there are a range of tests which can be performed to find the root of the problem. Two common tools are the CT (Computer Tomography) scanner and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner which can give a very detailed picture of activity within the brain and the pictures produced can often be compared to well documented patterns which will point to the source of the trouble.

In general however your doctor should not have too much difficulty in diagnosing most headaches from your headache diary and will be able to spot such things as migraine symptoms and triggers fairly quickly.


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    • OIFVETERAN profile image

      OIFVETERAN 9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Does blood letting still work?