Patients and Caregivers
Preparing Your Child for a First Visit
Our goal is to offer answers to the questions that our patients and their families ask most. If you are making the decision to seek treatment at Diamond Headache Clinic, or have recently completed an initial visit and are moving forward to implementing the treatment plan, this section serves as an important guide on what to expect.
As a concerned parent or caregiver, of course you want the best treatment for your child's headache condition. The headache specialists at the Diamond Headache Clinic are world-renowned, and each is committed to finding the right balance of treatments for your child.
There will be a lot to accomplish in our first visit. Our doctors may prescribe a series of outpatient treatments, or they may recommend admission to the Diamond Headache Inpatient Unit at Saint Joseph Hospital. There, your child will receive the intense and immediate treatment necessary to stabilize the headache condition and create an effective, long-term outpatient plan.
Because we understand your child looks to you for guidance and security, we felt it was important to emphasize the following points and recommendations before the first visit:
- This will be a diagnostic and treatment experience unlike any your child has ever experienced. The questions will be more specific about headache and the initial examination will take longer. Let your child know the initial 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 and caregivers plenty of time to prepare. Involve your child in this process. Ask questions about the location, frequency, severity, duration and other characteristics of each headache. Let them tell you in their own words so they will then feel comfortable explaining their condition and can identify some of their headache triggers.
- A nutritional assessment will be conducted to help determine if eating behaviors contribute to the headache pattern. Observe your child's eating habits for several days, and talk to them about what and when they eat.
- Some tests already performed by other referring physicians may need to be repeated. Remind your child to be patient through the testing process. It takes time; but it's worth it!
- Your child 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 possible triggers, such as diet and menstruation.
Based on the total evaluation, the clinic physician will recommend an individualized treatment regimen that includes:
- The medication component: the Clinic 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 children, benefit from biofeedback training. It augments other therapies, and is particularly useful for patients in whom stress is a major contributing factor to the headaches.
FOR KIDS AND TEENS ONLY!!
Preparing Yourself for a First Visit
Having headaches is not fun. Often, it means less time with friends, missing school days, having trouble getting along with family. It's just not fun. The great news is, your time at the Diamond Headache Clinic will get you on the right track to feeling well and being yourself again.
Here's a list of things we want you to know before you come to our clinic:
- Be ready to answer questions you may never have been asked before about your headaches, your life, your stresses and your past treatments. You can trust us with your most-personal information, so feel free to share.
- Ask questions in your own words, and don't stop asking until you understand the answers. We want you to know everything about your diagnosis and treatment.
- You are coming to the best headache clinic in the U.S. We will not stop our work with you until you feel better.
- 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 site page for tips to prepare.