Effective migraine management can’t be accomplished by the patient alone or the doctor alone. It must be a team effort. Ruling migraine disease requires partnering with our doctors.
Advantages of Patient/Doctor Partnerships:
- Improved communication
- Increased trust on both sides
- Less stress and anxiety about appointments
- Better results
Ways to Partner with Your Doctors:
- Continue learning about migraine and migraine treatments. This helps us be better prepared for conversations with our doctors.
- Maintain a migraine diary, and take it to your appointments. This saves time by allowing your doctor to instantly see information about the migraines and headaches you’ve been having. You can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary.
- Before your appointment, make a list of questions and topics you want to cover, leaving space between them for notes. Take two copies to your appointment - one for you and one for your doctor. This helps guard against forgetting what you wanted to discuss, and it lets your doctor see, from the beginning of the appointment, what you want to discuss.
- Trust your doctor enough to be honest. If you haven’t been following your treatment plan for some reason, say so. If your doctor assumes you’ve been following it, his or her recommendations will be based on faulty information.
- Don’t forget to tell your doctor about over-the-counter medications, supplements, and anything else you’re using. They can all impact your migraine treatment.
- Ask questions before you leave your appointment. If you have questions or doubts about anything - your diagnosis, your treatment plan, medication side effects - don’t go home without answers. Some people have left their appointments with prescriptions for new medications and so many doubts that they didn’t fill the prescription. This wastes both the patient’s and the doctor’s time and slows progress toward better migraine management.
More and more doctors want their patients to work with them as partners, to take responsibility for their health and work as a team instead of expecting doctors to write a prescription for a “magic pill.” Effective migraine management is more than just taking a pill. It involves trigger identification and management, lifestyle changes, and other elements that we — not our doctors — control. Yes, partnering with our doctors is necessary for ruling our migraine disease.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.