Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a neurologist. Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- 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 that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. For cough headaches, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my headaches?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- When will these headaches go away?
- What treatments are available?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing cough headaches?
- Have your cough headaches been continuous or occasional?
- Have you had a similar problem in the past?
- Have you had other kinds of headache? If so, what were they like?
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced migraines or cough headaches?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your headaches?
- What, if anything, makes your headaches worse?
- Cutrer FM. Primary cough headache. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Pascual J. Other primary headaches. Neurologic Clinics. 2009;27:557.
- Pascual J. Primary cough headache. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2005; 9:272.
- Chiari malformation fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm. Accessed March 10, 2012.
- Chen PK, et al. Cough headache: A study of 83 consecutive patients. Cephalalgia. 2009;29:1079.