Many migraineurs make mistakes when it comes to managing their migraines.
And that’s OK. We all make mistakes! These 4 common errors are not an exhaustive list, but they are the most common.
Of course, these 4 errors I’m going to mention are not an exhaustive list, but they are the most common. Let’s get right to it.
Mistake #1: No Diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis is the most crucial step. Not having one can make finding the appropriate provider and treatment problematic.
More than 50% of migraine patients have not been properly diagnosed by a medical professional. Many patients come to me with increasing symptoms and phrases like, “My doctor said it was…”
- All in my head
- Just a bad headache
- Too much junk food
- Too much alcohol or caffeine
- Side effects to another medication
This is shamefully bad doctoring. Many doctors avoid the diagnosis because of the complexity of treatments and the amount of investigation it takes to find the right plan for each patient. Until a proper diagnosis is made, though, the condition will be left under-treated and badly managed.
Mistake #2: Losing Hope
Giving up hope is not a good move. Most migraine patients have tried multiple treatments, to no avail. Many come to me at the end of their patience and ready to give up because nothing works, and their quality of life has decreased.
This is a completely normal response to years of failed treatments and worsening symptoms. You may think you have tried everything, but you haven’t. You are unique and everything needs to be considered when creating a treatment plan, such as:
- Your schedule: Can you take medication at the same time every day?
- Your diet: Have you tried the elimination diet? What were your steps?
- Nutrient and Electrolytes: What are your magnesium and calcium levels?
- Stress: How are you with coping with stress?
Never lose hope. It’s your greatest ally and the most beneficial item in your care regimen.
Mistake #3: The Wrong Doctor
It’s hard to change doctors, especially if you’ve been with the same one for years and years and years. Unfortunately, however, if you don’t have the right doctor, then you probably aren’t on the right regimen.
Ask yourself the following to determine if you have a good migraine doctor:
- Do they rush your appointments and fail to listen to you?
- Do they gloss over the information such as lab studies and diagnoses?
- Do they make a lot of eye contact?
- Have they presented a treatment plan specific to your needs?
- Do they frequently review that treatment plan and make necessary changes?
- Do they offer encouragement, hope, and confidence?
- Do you trust them?
If you have just realized you need a new doctor, you can ask for a referral to a specialist, check with your insurance carrier, or ask others who have the same condition.
Mistake #4: Not Actively Working on Prevention
This is a tough one. Most people will just settle for treating acute attacks, a knee-jerk reaction to immediate pain; however, very few will work on preventive measures, including the following:
- Vitamins and supplements
- Taking the appropriate medications at the appropriate times
- Following treatment plans of preventive therapies and remedies
- Finding the underlying cause of migraines, including triggers
- Changes to lifestyle and behavior like regular exercise, healthier foods, and stress-coping techniques
- Regulating sleep
Prevention is the key to an achievable and sustainable recovery.
Treating and beating migraines can be extremely difficult, because there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It takes time, dedication, and a knowledgeable provider who is willing to take the time to ferret out your underlying causes, triggers, and appropriate treatment methods. The fact is, your quality of life will continue to decline if these pitfalls aren’t addressed immediately, so it’s time to put on the hope cap and get moving in a better, healthier direction.
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