Migraine Management Essential #2 — Partnering with The Right Doctor
The Right Doctor:
To manage our Migraines as well as possible, we need to partner with a doctor who understands Migraine disease and how to treat it. One would think that finding such a doctor would be an easy matter, especially given that Migraine affects 18 percent of women and six to eight percent of men, but that's not the case.
Many people see multiple doctors before receiving an accurate diagnosis, then continue to have problems receiving appropriate treatment. A World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that:
"Lack of knowledge among health-care providers is the principal clinical barrier to effective headache management. This problem begins in medical schools where there is limited teaching on the subject, a consequence of the low priority accorded to it."
The report also revealed that, worldwide, formal undergraduate medical training included just four hours about headache and Migraine; specialist training included 10 hours.
Another issue is that we tend to assume that neurologists are Migraine and headache specialists, an assumption which isn't necessarily accurate. Neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine specialists, and Migraine specialists aren't necessarily neurologists. There are, however Migraine and headache specialists whose practices focus on patients with Migraine and other headache disorders. Since "headache medicine" is their chosen field, these doctors tend to keep up with publications in their field and attend continuing medical education meetings on a regular basis. For information and links to help find a Migraine and headache specialist, see Doctors and Treating Migraine.
Partnering with Our Doctors:
Once we've found a doctor to work with, we need to establish and maintain a good partnership. Let's be very honest here. If we go to our doctor expecting him or her to write a prescription that's going to take care of everything without our having to do anything, we're going to fail. It's that simple. No matter how hard our doctors work, no matter how good our treatment regimen is, there are things we must do to manage this disease:
In return, it's reasonable to expect our doctors to:
Patient-doctor partnerships are relationships built from mutual respect. When both patient and doctor work together toward the common goal of better Migraine management, outcomes are better. If your doctor doesn't want to work in this way, find a new doctor. Yes, we need to respect our doctors, but in essence, patients are consumers of health care services. Don't settle for less that what you need and deserve.
World Health Organization, Lifting the Burden. "Atlas of Headache Disorders and Resources in the World 2011." Geneva. World Health Organization. May, 2011.
Reviewed by David B. Watson, MD.
© Teri Robert, 2016. All rights reserved.
last updated September 5, 2016.
All content © Teri Robert, 2004 - Present, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
Interested in clinical trials? For information, click the images below.