When do you need a Neurologist?
As a general rule, for non-severe headaches, Your family doctor is a great place to start. However, if the recommended treatments are not working well or you have unusual symptoms, you may need a neurologist, who specializes in disorders of the nervous system.
Warning Signs that you need specialized medical attention for your headache or migraine include:
· You are over 50 and having chronic headaches or a new type of headache.
· Your headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, or blurry vision.
· Your headache is accompanied by weakness or loss of control of part of your body, speech, or vision.
· You have two or more headaches in a week.
· Your headaches are getting worse, not better, with time and treatment.
· Your headaches are not responding to recommended OTC treatment or prescription drugs.
· Your headache is sudden and severe and is accompanied by a stiff neck or fever.
· You have a new headache and a history of cancer or HIV/AIDS.
· Your headache begins after you hurt your head.
· Your headache is making it hard for you to carry out your daily life.
According to headache expert Winnie Lim Khoo MD, Adult Neurologist in the Philippines, a valuable tool in diagnosis is your headache history. A thorough history, aided by your detailed notes, can help pinpoint causes, triggers, and even potential solutions.
Make careful notes about your headache experiences before you go to the doctor and include:
· When the headaches occur
· What, if anything, makes them feel better or go away
· Whether sound, light, or noise bothered you during the headache
· Whether there were any changes in your vision before or during the headache, such as blurriness, black spots, or flashes of light
· How well you slept the night before
· If you are a woman, where you are in your menstrual cycle
· Unusual weather at the time
· Food or drink that you have consumed in the 24 hours before the headache
· Activities you were engaging in when the headache began or just prior to it
· Previous headache diagnoses and treatments you’ve tried