Headaches are one of the most common causes that people see a physician. This common symptom can be the result of something as innocuous as stress or something as immediately life-threatening as a ruptured aneurysm. Knowing how to tell your story to your physician can go a tremendous way in helping her to pinpoint the source of your problem with minimal testing and the least amount of risk to you (and your wallet).

Being able to help expedite your diagnosis will also bring a sense of empowerment regarding your health and hopefully spur you to take a proactive approach in the future when you have an illness.

Below you will find a list of questions which you should ponder when you develop a headache. By considering these questions in advance, you will equip yourself to help your doctor help diagnose your condition effectively and quickly.

  1. Is there a personal or family history of migraines?
  2. What is the location of the headache? (e.g., forehead, around right temple)
  3. Is the headache throbbing, aching, tight, sharp, or dull?
  4. What time of the day are the headaches their worst?
  5. Do the headaches wake you up at night?
  6. Do you experience nausea or vomiting with the headaches?
  7. Do you experience fevers or a general sense of feeling poorly with the headaches?
  8. Is your neck stiff?
  9. Have you had any recent tooth problems?
  10. Do any foods or beverages bring on the headaches?
  11. Do menstrual cycles seem to bring on the headaches? (women only)
  12. How long do the headaches last each time?
  13. What do you do to relieve the headaches?
  14. What medications do you currently use?
  15. Do you experience any sensitivity to light, eye pain, or jaw weakness with the headaches?
  16. Was the onset gradual or abrupt?
  17. Is this the worst headache of your life?
  18. Do you experience any abnormal sensations, such as strange smells, before the headaches?
  19. Have you recently noticed any nasal/sinus discharge? If so, what color was it?
  20. Is the headache on both sides of the head or only on one side?
  21. How does coughing or straining affect the headache?
  22. Have you had any strange sensations or weakness in your extremities?
  23. How many caffeinated beverages do you drink each day?
  24. Does stress on the job or in the home bring on your headaches?
  25. Do you seem to make more tears than usual during headaches?
Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ann Hester is a board certified internal medicine specialist, author, founder of PatientSchool.net and creator of the Patient Whiz. She can be reached at Dr.Hester@ThePatientWhiz.com.

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