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What You Should Expect From Your Headache Doctor

Any healthcare professional who is going to treat you for chronic headache should also be a person you feel comfortable with. The following are some characteristics that often contribute to a positive doctor-patient relationship. They are essential qualities in a comprehensive headache clinic. You have a right to expect such characteristics in the person to whom you are entrusting so much.

Your doctor should:

  • Demonstrate genuine care for you and interest in your problem.
  • Be a good communicator, educating patiently and understandably.
  • Be able to discuss psychological factors without giving you the message that your pain is not “real.”
  • Be flexible and listen attentively to your questions and observations.
  • Adjust the treatment plan to reflect new information.
  • Not answer every increase in headache only with new or more medication.
  • Work patiently with you even when the headache does not lend itself to a quick solution.
  • Be willing to consider multiple factors contributing to the same headache problem.
  • Be ready and able to coordinate efforts with all other members of the treatment team, including you.
  • Include you in goal setting.
  • Take time — to listen to you, to follow through on coordination of treatment, to give you feedback, to educate you.

Duckro PN, Richardson WD, and Marshall JE.
Taking control of your headaches. How to get the treatment you need.
New York: The Guilford Press, 1995

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