Chapter 4, Episode 2: How to Prepare for Your Headache Appointment


This content has been medically reviewed by Caroline Stowe, DNP, FNP-BC, AQH.

Preparing for your headache appointment ahead of time is important to easily provide helpful details about your attacks and health history. 

To start, keep track of your headache attacks using a headache diary. There are tracking apps for smartphones or the information can be written in a calendar or journal. 

You can make note of things like… 

  • Symptoms that occur before or during a headache such as numbness, pins and needles and/or visual disturbances like blind spots or zig zag lines
  • When an attack starts and ends
  • The severity and type of head pain
  • Other symptoms like dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Medications used, dosages and effectiveness
  • Possible triggers such as certain foods or alcohol, weather changes and menstrual cycles
  • How the attacks impacted your ability to function at work, school, or home

Try to record these details for as long as possible before your appointment to identify attack frequency, patterns and possible triggers. This can be helpful for getting an accurate diagnosis as well as insurance coverage for certain treatments.

 Next, write down your headache history. What age did your attacks start? Have there been changes in the frequency and severity? Have your symptoms or headache characteristics changed? What medications have you tried? Does anyone in your family have a history of a headache disorder? 

In addition, the healthcare provider will want to know about any other health conditions you have or used to have. Some conditions such as anxiety and depression occur more commonly in people with migraine. They will also want to know about the medications you currently take along with the dosages, even if they’re over-the-counter supplements and vitamins. 

Your healthcare provider needs to know about your entire health picture to make the best recommendations.

Lastly, be sure to write down your questions ahead of time. It can be hard to remember everything during an appointment. You can even ask a trusted family member or friend to come with you. An appointment buddy can help remember details and questions if you get nervous or overwhelmed.

Preparing for your first visit with a healthcare provider is an important step to take so that you and your provider can create a treatment plan that works best for you.

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This video is sponsored in part by Lundbeck.

*The contents of this video are intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. AMD does not recommend or endorse any treatment, products, or procedures mentioned. Reliance on any information provided by this content is solely at your own risk.