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HeadWay, Issue #155 -- Why You Need a "Diagnosis Reset"
July 21, 2017

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In this issue:

Why You Need a "Diagnosis Reset"

Say what?! Cephalgia

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Why You Need a
"Diagnosis Reset"

We all want to see migraine - and every headache condition - completely cured around the world. But second to that, we all want to see continuous improvement. Not just general improvement in treatment, but improvement in each person.

So what if you feel like your treatment has gotten "stuck"? Do you just go onto the internet, and pick a new treatment that is well promoted, and see what happens?

There's a time to try new treatments, but there may be something even more important to do first - what I call a "diagnosis reset".

A diagnosis reset simply means that you go to a doctor - preferably a specialist - that you trust, and you re-diagnose your headache condition.

There are several important reasons why you would want to do this.
  1. Knowledge marches on... We know a lot about more about headache conditions than we did ten years ago. You may be able to get a more specific or accurate diagnosis today.
  2. Vague first diagnosis... Were you just diagnosed with "migraine"? What type of migraine? Is it possible that your original doctor was less than careful with your diagnosis, telling you "it's migraine" after only talking with you for 5 minutes?
  3. Things change... It's very possible that you have a different condition - or combination of conditions - than you had 10 or 20 years ago. You could have 4 or more very legitimate diagnoses in your life. You need to re-evaluate.
So how should you do a diagnosis reset so that it's worthwhile?
  • Record on Paper: Ok, recording on your smart phone or computer is all right too. Maybe you need to do both. Record as many details as you can about 6 attacks. What symptoms did you experience? How long did they last? What did you notice that you've never told a doctor before? Do you have any idea what may have triggered the attack? How did you treat it? What did your friends/family notice that you didn't? Dr. R. Allan Purdy recommends taking a video of yourself during the attack. Details, details, details.
  • Organize: Take this information and put it in a clear format. Also, make note of relevant family history (anyone else in the family with migraine? depression?), treatments you've tried in the past (not just drugs!), and other conditions you have (depression? epilepsy? IBS? high blood pressure?).
  • Find a doctor you trust (if possible, a specialist): You don't want to do a "diagnosis reset" every day. Do your research, and find someone you trust. If that doctor is not willing to listen, go to another. For help, see Looking for migraine doctors? and Is Your Doctor a Certified Headache Specialist?
If you want to get the best treatment, it's important that your diagnosis is accurate and up-to-date. A diagnosis reset is something you should do more than once in your life.

Special thanks to Dr. R. Allan Purdy, who got us thinking about this at the Migraine World Summit. Dr, Purdy is the co-author of Advanced Therapy of Headache.

Say what?! Cephalgia

This is an easy one - cephalgia or cephalalgia is simply a medical term for headache. Science relating to the head is known as cephalology. Cephal refers to the brain or head, and algia refers to pain.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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