Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #20: "Run, Forrest, Run!"

AwarenessMonth2012BC2Today's prompt is:
Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge #20: "Run, Forrest, Run!" Describe your perfect doctor to treat your Migraines.
10 Tips for Changing Doctors

Changing physicians is an enormous task when you are chronically ill, especially if your illness is chronic Migraine.  

I’ve found myself needing to move on to other doctors for my illnesses, and it is never a pleasant task.  The reasons I’ve found this necessary are varied, but usually have something to do with the way I was treated at an office visit or ineffective management plans.  

So, let’s see if I can come up with a few tips to share:

1.        Don’t get discouraged.  Not every doctor out there is a rotten apple.  There really are some fabulous physicians who truly want to help Migraineurs.  The trick is locating a good one and getting into the schedule.  Do NOT blame yourself.  Not every doctor is for every patient.  You just need to move on until you can find someone that will click with YOU.

2.       See a headache specialist.  Most patients I talk to that are unsatisfied with their physicians are unhappy because they are getting substandard treatment, or are not being understood by their current doctors.  When you see a headache specialist, you are seeing someone who deals with the toughest headache and Migraine cases there are… on a daily basis.  They really are your best, first choice.  There is a glitch though.  Anyone can call themselves a headache specialist.  Even those listed on some pharma websites as *headache specialists* really aren’t certified as such.  They just went through injection training and have signed up saying they have an interest in treating headache patients.  Here is a list of board certified headache specialists.
3.       Get a physician referral if possible.  When a physician calls a headache specialist and refers a patient, it is not uncommon that the patient will find themselves with an appointment much sooner than if they self refer.  If you are leaving a doctor, just ask them to refer you to the next one you want to try.  This is especially easy if you are not seeing a headache specialist, but want to switch to one.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask… this is part of their job and why you pay them so much money. 

4.       Get and keep paper copies of your records from your all your current doctors.  Do this well before your scheduled appointment.  Keep a copy for yourself and put it in a binder so that the most current labs etc are at the front.  As you continue treatment with any doctor, ask for those lab results etc and add them to the front.  Keep this handy for all your doctor’s appointments and you’ll be amazed at how much time and money is saved as a result. 

5.       Start a headache journal.  Even if you’ve done one before, your new doctor will want you to do one for them, so get started now and you’ll save yourself and the doctor a lot of time. has one that your doctor can access easily from his office whenever he needs to see how you’re doing.  You can find it here: Migraine Meter

6.        Create a medical history sheet.  List all your current meds, current and past medical conditions and the dates you had them.  Also list any surgical procedures you’ve ever had.  Keep this handy and updated and it will expedite the bookkeeping and appointment.

7.       If you have tried preventives before, create a list of them.  If you know the date you used them that too, is helpful.  Put the dosage you used, and any side effects as well as the reason for stopping the medicine.

8.       Create a page that illustrates what you do when you get a Migraine attack.  Describe how a typical attack starts and feels like.  What do you take and when?  What happens during the worst case scenario?

9.       Create a page of questions for your new doctor.  Let him know at your first appointment that you have this list and let him/her see it right from the get-go.  Do NOT wait until the end of the visit to suddenly mention something new to your doctor.  They really hate that. 

10.   If you can, tactfully explain why you are leaving to the doctor before you go.  This is not for your benefit, it is to help the next patient down the road that has the same or similar experience.  Yes, the doctor may be unhappy, but they may also change how they treat their patients.  If you feel funny about doing this, take someone else with you and you’ll be much less likely to be treated unfairly or with disrespect.

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by
To help raise awareness about Migraine, please Tweet this post with the hash tags #NMAM and #NMAMBC and share it on your Facebook page. Thank you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice!!