Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you've recently had a spinal procedure and develop a headache that lasts 24 hours or longer, your doctor can help you determine the seriousness of your condition. 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
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Depending on your condition, you may need help getting to your appointment. And, someone who accompanies you may remember information you miss or forget.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For a spinal headache, questions you might ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other causes?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What alternatives are there to the approach you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:
- When did your headache begin?
- Does your headache worsen when you sit, stand or lie down?
- Do you have a history of headaches? What type?
- Postdural (post-lumbar) puncture headache. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/03_teil2/07.02.01_nonvascular.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Primary headache disorders, including migraine. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Post-lumbar puncture and other low-pressure headaches. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec16/ch216/ch216e.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Guideline summary NGC-4514. National Guideline Clearinghouse. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=8102. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Boonmak P, et al. Epidural blood patching for preventing and treating post-dural puncture headache (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2010;1:1.
- Basurto Ona X, et al. Drug therapy for treating post-dural puncture headache (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2011;8:1.
- Lavi R, et al. Lumbar puncture: It is time to change the needle. European Neurology. 2010;64:108.