Migraine & Privilege
There’s been a lot of talk about privilege and how it affects our ability to succeed in life. The discussions prompted me to think about the effects of privilege on migraine treatment success. I started to wonder what factors contribute to the success of treatment.
Let’s face it. If you don’t have money for rent or food, that’s going to impact your migraine treatment success. It’s much harder to get the care you need to treat migraine. It takes money to survive in this world. Not having enough can really hurt. But it’s not just the poor who struggle. Sometimes our treatment success depends on our ability to purchase products and services that are not covered by insurance. If you need items for your toolkit and can’t afford them, the odds of treatment success can be affected.
Support system resources
Having a broad social network that understands your health care needs and supports your efforts is essential to treatment success. No matter how much money you have, nothing replaces the loving support of family and friends. The disease itself tends to isolate us from others, so having people who will reach out to us is essential to the success of our treatment.
Access to reliable transportation
Treating migraine requires lots of doctor visits. Sometimes it requires emergency care. Not having access to a working vehicle can limit your ability to get good care. Even if you have found a successful treatment, getting to appointments and picking up medicines can be nearly impossible without transportation.
Access to accurate information
You all know how difficult it is to find accurate information about migraine. Wading through the web of charlatans, snake oil, fraud, and outright lies can leave patients so confused that they give up trying to find the truth. Not knowing the truth about migraine treatment can sidetrack patients, getting them so lost that the never find the resources that can actually help.
Migraine treatments are expensive. Neurologists often charge $200 or more for an office visit. Botox can cost up to $8,000 per treatment. Triptans can run you $20 or more PER PILL! Emergency room visits will hit you with a $2,000 bill the minute you walk in the door. Don’t even get me started on the cost of an inpatient hospital stay. If you can’t afford health insurance, the costs become astronomical.
Access to qualified health care
Even if you do have excellent health insurance, there are still barriers to good migraine treatment. First there is all the insurance “red tape” that slows your access to needed treatments. Once you get through all of that, you might still find yourself without access to experts who can really help because you happen to live in an area with few headache specialists. Now you face a difficult choice. You can choose to live with sub-standard care or dip into your limited financial resources to travel away from home to see a specialist.
Access to CAM
Sometimes the recommended treatments are not covered by health insurance. Assuming they are even affordable, these treatments are not always readily available in every community. You may even face opposition from your support system who do not understand why such treatments are needed.
Access to wholesome foods
This isn’t just about the ability to pay for groceries. Sometimes the very illness that could benefit from better nutrition keeps us from getting it. The nausea and vomiting can turn off our appetites. The exhaustion, photophobia, and inability to move without pain can keep us from preparing wholesome meals even if our kitchen is well-stocked. Those who live alone are particularly vulnerable.
Can you think of any other aspects of privilege that affect the success of migraine treatment?
How have you been able to overcome some of these barriers?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?