Ineffective Migraine Treatments: Is Your Doctor Wrong?

Research shows that only one out of every 20 migraineurs are diagnosed correctly, which means the other 19 are walking around undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If much of the medical field doesn’t understand migraines and its various symptoms, how can patients ever fully know whether the treatment the doctor has prescribed is going to help or hurt them in the long run?

In this post, we’ll go over some of the bad comments and advice lazy doctors have given to migraine patients. When you hear these excuses and prescribed what will likely be an ineffective treatment, it’s time to question how much you trust this doctor. Is it time to start searching for another health partner, preferably one who acts as your advocate?

“It’s Probably Just Stress.”

It’s never “just” stress. Stress is a likely culprit to a laundry list of health problems, but it may not be the only thing causing your migraines. Even if it is stress causing the pain, a doctor needs to follow up on their assumption by determining if the pressure is physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, or all the above.

Stress is a primary culprit to migraines, so it’s no wonder doctors will question your levels. However, there’s a big red flag with this statement, and that’s the word “probably.” Please don’t take any medications or follow any treatment recommendations that come after that statement, as it probably won’t be effective. 

“Have You Tried Dieting and Losing Weight?”

All-in-all, this is a fair question, especially considering food is such a significant trigger. Further, extra weight may lead to higher levels of inflammation and, therefore, more migraines; however, doctors often want to use weight as the reason for everything. If you’d told this doctor you were having elbow pain, would he blame that on weight as well? If this question isn’t preceded by or followed up with more trigger-point questions, such as “do you notice the pain with certain foods you eat?” then it’s likely your treatment from this physician will be ineffective.

“All Your Tests Are Normal.”

This statement frustrates me the most. I’ve had a lot of patients suffer needlessly for years because of this lazy statement. Here’s the thing about those tests – the normal ranges are usually quite wide. For instance, the normal range for thyroid-stimulating hormone is 0.5-5.0 mU/L. Normal ranges for serotonin in the blood is 101-283 ng/L. What happens when you’re at the low end of those ranges, yet still above the lowest number? Does that mean your symptoms are all in your head or that the doctor is merely ignoring the obvious?

“There’s No Point to Googling Your Symptoms”

There’s no harm in searching for answers; however, some doctors get defensive when you know something they don’t or didn’t think about themselves. A defensive doctor who thinks your attempt to learn through other sources than them is a danger to migraine patients. To get better, you must have knowledge. A search engine is an excellent place to start. A better doctor would be the next best stop. 

“I Can’t Treat You for Migraines Because Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover It”

First, if your doctor ever says this to you for any reason, it’s time to get away from them; they only care about you as a paycheck.  Second, it’s not up to the doctor to make this claim without research. If your doctor says this, try responding with the following questions:

·         What are my options for treatment?

·         Do you have any other patients with migraines?

·         Do you have any colleagues who specialize in migraines and could help me?

There’s a lot of bad advice out there; try not to let it frustrate you. It’s hard for people to understand invisible illnesses like migraines, especially when the condition itself impairs cognitive function, making it difficult to communicate your problems adequately. When it comes to getting bad advice and ineffective treatments from doctors, don’t give in and think there’s no way out of that lazy grip.  Sometimes, it just means starting from the beginning and working your way into a life-sustaining treatment regimen that doesn’t overtax your body and mind.

You aren’t alone. I help people all over the globe with their migraine healing journey, and I’ll help you too. Reach out with questions, make comments on posts, or connect with me on social media.

Sources:

Migraine Again: Doctor-Patient Relationship

Bad Migraine Advice

HCP Live: How to Spot a Bad Doctor