Headaches: 10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor (cont.)

How About Follow-up Care?

Arriving at an accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment often takes time and may require repeated visits and tests. Be patient and communicate with your doctor. Here are some suggestions:

  • Do not stop taking prescribed medications on your own. If your prescription runs out, ask your doctor whether you should obtain a refill.
  • If the prescribed treatment is not helping you, or is causing side effects, inform your doctor right away. He/she may have to rethink the diagnosis and/or change the treatment.
  • If the doctor cannot offer you a firm diagnosis or help you with your symptoms despite repeated visits, it is OK to ask for another opinion. Most doctors will be glad to help their patients solicit second opinions or specialty consultations.
  • Always ask your doctor about your test results. Never assume that everything must be fine if you do not hear from the doctor's office.
  • Inform your doctor if you are using alternative medicine or non-prescription remedies, because some of these remedies may interact with your prescribed medications.
  • Educate yourself with credible and authoritative medical information. Increasing your own knowledge about the characteristics of your particular condition, your medications, and their side effects can benefit you, your family, and your doctor. Information about your condition may be provided by your doctor. You can also find valuable information on the Internet. Be certain to look for credible Web sites.

Last Editorial Review: 2/16/2007