June 3, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
UMDNJ Physician Launches Online Headache Assessment Tool
STRATFORD—Headaches are one of the top causes for a visit to the doctor's office or to the pharmacy. Yet few, if any, of those who experience headaches really know the cause - or the cure - for what’s ailing them.
"There are many types of headaches and they can range from merely irritating to incapacitating," said Dr. Adarsh Gupta, an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. "Knowing which type of headache you have can help you get the right treatment and, in turn, saves your time and money."
To help headache sufferers, Dr. Gupta, along with two other physicians at the medical school, has developed Headache Consult, a unique online tool, www.headacheconsult.com, which allows individuals to assess their headache type, learn about treatment options, and create an individualized report to help them better manage their headaches.
"Traditionally, physicians will start conservatively and gradually adjusting the strength or type of treatment until they find one that works for the patient," Dr. Gupta said. "In the meantime, a patient could end up making several trips to the doctor before getting relief from headache pain. Our assessment tools help patients and their physicians to zero in on the correct diagnosis and the best treatment options."
Headache Consult provides a choice of two assessment options, each of which takes just a few minutes to complete. The brief assessment presents a few standardized questions and then creates an individualized report that will assist the physician in determining the severity and the impact of headache on the individual's life. If the report indicates that the headaches are severe enough to affect the patient's work and life, then the physician will know to begin with a stronger, more effective treatment rather than taking a conservative approach.
The comprehensive tool adds more questions to better assess the individual's headache in terms of other medical or health conditions, lifestyle habits and treatments that have already been tried.
The Headache Consult website includes other features for headache sufferers such as educational material, links to reliable online headache information, and a headache diary that individuals can use to track the precise nature of their headaches, become more aware of possible headache triggers and measure the effectiveness of pain medication. By repeating the assessment tool after undergoing treatment, patients and their doctors will have an objective way to measure the effectiveness of their therapy.
Headache Consult was developed with grant support from the National Headache Foundation, the prime sponsor of National Headache Awareness Week (June 4-10).
To arrange an interview with Dr. Gupta, please contact Jerry Carey, University News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or (973) 972-3000.