Back to Back Issues Page
HeadWay, Issue #169 -- When Your Doctor Isn't Ready
September 21, 2018

*Please note: URLs may wrap onto the next line. To visit the website, cut and paste the entire URL into your address bar on your browser*

In this issue:

When Your Doctor Isn't Ready

Congrats to our winners!

Say what?! Polypharmacy

When Your Doctor Isn't Ready

I appreciate doctors. I know there are many horror stories about doctors and headache treatment, but there are also lots of great stories. But still, many doctors are not ready to give you the treatment you need.

So here's the question: How can I prepare myself to work with my doctor to get the best treatment possible?

A study in the UK showed that, on average, your family doctor has had about 4 hours of training when it comes to headache conditions. 4 hours! Hopefully she's worked to learn more, but this still highlights a serious problem.

This summer a study in Canada found four areas in which doctors, nurses, and even neurologists were lacking. Likely to be similar in other parts of the world, these are things we need to be aware of.

So let's take a look at each category:
  • Government guidelines: Some of these are related to treatments and medications. But there are also guidelines for disability, treatment of employees and students, etc. If your country has a good advocacy organization, check with them for information. In the UK, The Migraine Trust has excellent advocacy services. In the USA, check with the National Headache Foundation. There are many more.
  • Diagnostic criteria: You don't just have "migraine" - you have a specific type. Is your doctor aware of the brand new ICHD-3 classification system? Are you?
  • Preventative Treatment: If you have more than 2 headaches per week, and your doctor isn't discussing preventative treatments with you (only "painkillers"), there's a problem. That is a major disruption to your life, and there are good options available. Are you educating yourself? (Some thoughts on evaluation for children, also useful for adults, here. General prevention info here.)
  • Non-pharmacological Therapies: This is an important one. There are many great, well researched treatments and lifestyle changes that do not involve drugs at all. Is your doctor discussing these with you? Whether or not, you still need to educate yourself. Think biofeedback, diet changes (see the books below for some detailed info, and our recent poll), supplements (see here and here), exercise, etc.
Of course, there is a lot more information on the website, and at other sites you trust. You can also get a crash course by investing in the Migraine World Summit materials.

A good doctor or specialist is very important because of their overall knowledge and (hopefully!) knowledge of your medical history. But be aware of areas that might be lacking, and be your own advocate.

Congrats to our Winners!

Congratulations to Crystal, Muriel, Sandra and Zara, winners of a free migraine-fighting book, celebrating HeadWay's 15th anniversary! It's fun to give away free stuff. :)

Here are the books they chose, books incidentally with detailed information about non-drug treatment:

Say what?! Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy is actually a controversial word. Is it bad? When is it bad? What is "minor and major polypharmacy"?

Polypharmacy basically refers to the prescription of multiple medications. So medical professionals understand that this can be appropriate, or downright dangerous. This often happens when more than one doctor or specialist is prescribing medication. If a number must be picked, there are usually red flags when someone has been prescribed 5 or more meds. But of course there are dangers with just one, and you need to keep your doctor informed.

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