Migraines, You, and Your Doctor
One of the most discussed topics amongst Migraineurs has to be doctors and how to work with them. Visiting a doctor is difficult, especially a new doctor. Still, when I have to summarize my thoughts about working with doctors, I stick by this statemet:
"Optimal health care can be achieved only when patients are educated about their health, and patients and physicians work together as treatment partners in an atmosphere of mutual respect."
The first step toward a successful partnership with our doctors is finding the right doctor. No doctor is right for every patient, so we have to find a partner doc with whom we have the right synergy. There are a number of considerations:
- What kind of doctor do we need? We often recommend that Migraineurs see a true Migraine specialist, but that's not necessary for all Migraineurs. It depends on the Migraineur and the knowledge of their doctor. Some Migraineurs' Migraines are fairly easy to treat, and may do quite well with their family doctor or a general neurologist.
- Regardless of what kind of doctor we see, does he or she understand Migraine disease and how to treat it? ...take time to answer questions? ...like and respect educated patients? ...work well with patients who expect to be treatment partners?
- After hours, on weekends, and when the doctor is on vacation, does someone cover their practice so someone is avialble if we need help?
Does this sound familiar?
"Migraines are one of those things that it's difficult to explain how they affect your life because they actually control your whole life." Kim Wing
If it does, I hope this sounds familiar too:
"I think it's very important at the first visit to spend time establishing not only the diagnosis of Migraine, but the impact that Migraine has had on an individual's life or family circumstances. I think it's important at ever visit, and I did it with Kim, and I do it with all my patients. I always ask about impact... Patients should be their own advocates... I think it's important to go prepared." Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes
There are great doctors out there. Take a look at this video*...
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- The best treatment possible.
- To receive as much respect as we show our doctors.
- To get answers when we ask questions.
- To be able to consider quality of life when seeking advice and treatment.
Here are some resources to help you work with your doctor:
- Coping With Busy Doctors
- Migraineur's Guide To a Successful Doctor's Appointment
- Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special?
- When To See a Doctor for a Migraine or Headache
- Quiz: Is Your Doctor Right for You?
- Listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists
* Video courtesy of MigraineDataConnection.com.