Visiting the doctor, in many ways, is a similar experience for most people. You’re nervous during the chronic migraine checkup and more than a little overwhelmed by the complexity and volume of information that your physician delivers. Intimidated, and quite stressed, you don’t retain much of what you heard and can’t seem to think of any key questions about your migraine treatment.
Once you drive out of the parking lot however, a dozen questions pop into your head, and fragments of information you heard are swimming around the pool of your mind. By the time you return home, or back to work, you’re already distracted with the demands of your day, and forget everything.
The American Headache Society has recommendations for tasks you should undertake following a check-up with your migraine specialist. The organization’s website emphasizes this is a vital step in taking responsibility for your own migraine treatment. The suggestions involve:
Keeping records and notes
- Take notes during and after your appointment.
- Write down (or dictate into your smart phone) questions you think of after the appointment.
- Make a follow-up call to your physician with these questions.
- Write down the answers.
- Keep track of all these notes and file them with your migraine diary and medical records.
Owning your part
- Fill any prescriptions you received at the appointment.
- File away medication information pamphlets for convenient reference when you are not feeling well.
- Maintain your migraine diary and routinely enter and update information about headache frequency, symptoms, triggers and medication effects.
- Update and share information about your condition and the outcome from your doctor’s appointment with a trusted family member or friend, so he or she has vital information in the event you need help when you’re not feeling well. Show them where to locate records and information.
Caring for yourself
- Organize your medication, dispose of expired drugs, and secure prescription painkillers in locked cabinets. Keep medication out of humid and hot spaces such as the kitchen or bathroom.
- Listen to your body. If you aren’t feeling well, and suspect there may be more involved than your chronic migraine condition, heed that suspicion. Headaches can signal other systemic illnesses or medical conditions.
- Keep track of your emotional well being also. Part of any comprehensive migraine treatment involves monitoring potential signs of depression, which often occur together with chronic pain conditions.
It’s important for chronic migraine and headache sufferers to understand they are a vital component of their own migraine treatment. Maximizing the benefits of your migraine specialist appointment requires that you take the time and make the effort to follow up with the tasks listed above.