Patients and Caregivers
Preparing Yourself for a First Visit
The headache specialists at the Diamond Headache Clinic are world-renowned, and each is committed to finding the right balance of treatments for your specific headache condition.
There will be a great deal to accomplish in our first visit. Our doctors may prescribe a series of outpatient treatments, or they may recommend admission to our private Inpatient Unit at Saint Joseph Hospital. There, you will receive the intense and immediate treatment necessary to stabilize your headache condition and create an effective, long-term outpatient plan.
We felt it was important to emphasize the following points and recommendations before your first visit:
- This will be a diagnostic and treatment experience unlike any you've had before. The questions will be more specific about headache and the initial examination will take longer. The first visit takes three to four hours, and it may require more than one visit to gather all the necessary information to create a full medical profile.
- Our care begins with the collection of a thorough medical history. We provide our forms online to give patients plenty of time to prepare. Involve your family in this process, if needed. Ask them questions about their observations of your headaches. This conversation may help you identify some additional headache triggers.
- A nutritional assessment will be conducted to help determine if eating behaviors contribute to the headache pattern. Observe your own eating habits for several days so you know exactly what and when you eat.
- Some tests already performed by other referring physicians may need to be repeated. Please be patient through the testing process. It takes time; but it's worth it!
- You will be asked to keep a daily headache calendar, recording headache severity; the amount of and types of analgesics used; the degree of relief obtained; and provocative factors, such as diet and menstruation.
- Your headache specialist may want you to stay at the hospital for a few days to get your headaches under control. If this is recommended, make sure to visit our Web page for tips to prepare.
Based on the total evaluation, the clinic physician will recommend an individualized treatment regimen that includes:
- The medication component: your clinic physician will suggest a program of specific therapeutic agents. Patient response is closely monitored to evaluate efficacy and minimize side effects;
- A lifestyle-modification component: the patient is instructed in the areas of diet, recreation, sleep patterns and other habits linked to headaches;
- A biofeedback-training component: this non-pharmaceutical approach enables the patient to be an active participant in their treatment and in alleviating headache symptoms. Approximately 70 percent of all patients, especially pregnant women who prefer to avoid medication, benefit from this training. It augments other therapies, and is particularly useful for patients in whom stress is a major contributing factor to headaches or in patients being treated with medications for other health conditions who cannot tolerate standard headache agents.
Preparing Your Loved Ones for Your First Visit
- You are getting help from the country's best headache clinic. We will leave no stone unturned in our evaluation or treatment of your condition.
- The initial examination process is lengthy. Be ready to spend at least three to four hours at the clinic on the first visit. Only the patient will participate in the examination process, unless otherwise specifically requested. Loved ones and caregivers must wait in reception area.
- Assure your family that they will play an active role in your long-term wellness and treatment. You will receive a specific plan once the initial diagnostic session is complete.
- If hospitalization is required, visit our Web page for tips on preparing your loved ones for your Inpatient Unit stay.