Recently, I had a doctor's appointment I'd like to share with you. I've been to many, many doctors who call themselves "headache specialists" but really aren't. Not to say these aren't all fine doctors, just not "true" Migraine specialists who treat people with Migraines all day. This doctor actually has a subspecialty in Headache Medicine; I saw his certificate on the wall. Take a look at Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special?
Before my scheduled appointment, I was sent a medical history and insurance form to fill out and a Migraine diary to keep. I was also instructed to bring any pertinent blood work, CT's, X-Rays or MRI's my appointment. A few weeks later I received directions and some last minute details about cancellation policies. The office seemed very thorough.
This Migraine specialist is about 70 minutes from my house, and my appointment was at eight o'clock. You can read more here for Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists. I left extra early, leaving time for rush hour traffic, but the directions were excellent and the office was easy to find so I arrived promptly at 7:45 a.m. The receptionist was very pleasant, took all my paperwork and insurance cards and asked me to fill out a privacy form. When I handed her my Medicare and Medicaid cards, I held my breath waiting for the inevitable distaste to show on her face. It never happened. She actually treated me with respect and dignity, imagine that. People getting substandard care is a real concern. Take a look at: Are You Getting Substandard Migraine Care Too? She informed me the doctor would be with me shortly.
As I waited for the doctor, I began to look around the waiting room. Although small, it was packed with information on various neurological disorders (he shares office space with another neurologist.) Looking around for Migraine and headache information I was very pleased to see an entire wall dedicated to this disease. There are brochures on Migraine triggers, keeping a Migraine diary, and literature on what a Migraine is and more. I hit pay dirt!
He came out to introduce himself, and we went into his office. As I sat across from him, I noticed a "Migraine Management" folder on his desk in front of me. It was open and had my Migraine diary in it along with other Migraine hand-outs, a quarterly newsletter the office distributes on "headache" and a "Headache Treatment Plan." Our discussion began by the doctor asking what he could do for me, and I told him about my head and neck pain. These two questions seem pretty typical, but I had the feeling he really wanted to help me. He listened, asked questions about lifestyle and emotional stress, triggers, medications, and complementary therapies. Coping with Busy Doctor is a good article to read before heading to a new doctor.
From there, we went over my extensive list of medications. Then he looked me over — blood pressure, eyes, you know, all that stuff. Now it was time to talk about diagnosis and treatment. He uses a 0-3 headache scale, and on most days I am 2 or 1, with 3's mixed in. The doctor would like to see me have less 2's and more 1's in three months. He asked me if I'd ever tried Botox. Actually, I haven't. He seemed to think I would be a good candidate for that, but of course. the insurance company thinks otherwise. He has added Zanaflex at night to help reduce the horrible tension in my neck, chelated magnesium, and B2. Maybe have a sleep study again to see how a CPAP work since I always wake with head pain. For abortive and rescue, continue what I am doing. He also discussed doing a DHE protocol to get me to zero pain. Wouldn't that be nice? But he would only send me to The Jefferson to do it. Still thinking on that one.
Bottom line here is — see a Migraine specialist when you've seen every other doctor and you aren't getting better with your current doctor. Another set of eyes is always a good idea. Most doctors don't mind second opinions; the ones that do shouldn't be your doctor!© The HealthCentral Network, 2010
Last updated June 13, 2010
Published On: June 14, 2010