Need help with head-neck assessment

  1. I am a practical nursing student studying in the first semester. I am terrible in the health assessment class. (hanging on by fingernails)
    I need to come up a diagnosis for a patient with a headache during a head-neck assessment.

    Headache can be cause by a variety of thing, there are primary and secondary headaches and different types of headaches. What kind of information related to the head-neck assessment do I need to narrow the symptoms down to make a well-informed diagnosis?

    I can only ask one question.

    Ask the patient to point out the location and if it radiates to other parts?

    This assignment is giving me a huge headache.
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    About studentnurse-Sue

    Joined: May '13; Posts: 3; Likes: 2


  3. by   gia_au
    I would ask the patient to tell me if there is any new or worsened pain as you move through the steps of the head-neck assessment. This should give you some good information towards diagnosing the type of headache (e.g. absence of pain during particular steps of the assessment can tell you that tension headache is less likely, sudden onset of pain can indicate possible haemorrhage, etc)

    With that being said, prior to starting my Nursing course (Semester One too I worked in pharmacy for 9 years. Alongside the questions of 'how long have you had the headache, can you point to where the pain is, are the headaches recurring' etc..I asked if they had experienced any nausea or vomiting with the headache. A 'yes' would lean your diagnosis towards a migraine headache, although it can also be an indicator for brain tumour and meningitis.

    Perhaps what you could do is draw up a table with the different types of headaches and their symptoms, traits, causes/triggers. Then I would read up on your notes for the head-neck assessment and summarise into a table what the presence of pain could mean or palpation of an unusual lump at a certain step could indicate and so on. Being able to visualise the profile of each headache alongside the factors of the head-neck assessment may help you to draw a connection between the two?

    Sorry if I rambled, must stop before I over-analyse! haha Hope I haven't left you confused..good luck!
  4. by   studentnurse-Sue
    Thank you so much, I was overwhelm by the whole lot of information regarding the assessment, I total lost my focus and rationales.