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Doctor Patient Communication: Set Up Your Own Migraine Summary Document

For many of us living with migraine disease the task of keeping all the pertinent details about our medications, treatments, symptoms and care providers straight is incredibly burdensome. It can be tempting to cut corners when we see a new doctor simply because it is so much work to provide all the relevant details when you’re living with pain and other debilitating symptoms. This is dangerous. Our doctors need the whole picture to safely provide us with the best care.

For me the answer to this problem has been to develop my own health care summary document. My document is a simple word processing file, which I keep on my computer and online on Google Docs. This allows me to access the file through my smart phone if I face an unexpected appointment and don’t have a chance to print out a hard copy.

I update my document every time there is a change in my medications, treatments, symptoms or diagnoses. I print a copy to bring with me to every doctors’ appointment and leave it with them if they want to include it in my file.

Although I didn’t develop it for this purpose, my document has also been very useful when I’ve had to seek emergency treatment for an acute attack that didn’t respond to my regular treatment medications. Both nurses and doctors appreciate having all the relevant information written down in front of them and the easy ability to contact my regular doctors to discuss the proper way to address my migraine attacks. Furthermore, like many of you, my communication skills and thinking are sometimes compromised by a migraine attack, making it difficult to share the relevant information and remember everything they need to know to safely provide me with care.

These are the pieces of information I include in my document:

  • Full name
  • Contact Information
  • Name and address of each doctor I work with
  • List of current medications with doses and frequency
  • Description of my symptoms
  • History of my migraine disease
  • Relevant family history
  • Treatments I’ve tried
  • Medications I’ve tried

You can see a sample of my document here: Migraine Summary Document Example. Do you have suggestions for making the document more useful? Please share your ideas!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie
    7 years ago

    Wow, I’m so glad that you shared this! Such valuable information. I’m taking your example and I’m going to print it and use it as a guideline and personalize it to make it my own and take it on my next visit. That way I have all my bases covered. I recently got my RX list printed that goes back to 2006 as that is how far back they can go, no further, but I’ve dug into my family history more since my last apt and I can add that as well as my migraine history and I’ve been documenting that. You are truly an inspiration w/the tools you give us to help us w/our migraine disease and to better our healthcare! Again thank you so much! I’m printing and starting up my Word Document as I’m ending off here………………….

  • Laurie Ashmore Epting
    8 years ago

    Diana, I truly appeciate you sharing this valuable information and plan on developing a similar document for myself.

  • Samuel Robinson Bennett
    8 years ago

    the iPhone and the Blackberry both have apps to track migraines on your phones or iTouch. There is no reason to have a paper record. You can print from these apps as well. The true benefit is they are always with you and you can search by keywords for specific issues over time.

  • Samuel Robinson Bennett
    8 years ago

    The iTunes app store has a migraine tracker. The Blackberry app store has one as well. There is no reason if you have one of these phones to have a paper record. (they both print out as well). The real benefit of a program for your device is that you can search for specific issues to see how things have gone over time.

    8 years ago

    Diana Lee provides some ideas for improving communication with your doctor. Keeping track of your medical history is important to ensure the best possible treatment!

  • Debra Nemeth
    8 years ago

    @ Jamie….I am right there with you. Always the “drug-seeker”. If that was true…we could easily get them OFF OF THE STREET and avoid the feelings of shame and guilt placed upon us. What the hell is wrong with these practitioners? I don’t want drugs….I want relief from the pain. Just wish I had a magic wand — first I would use it to stop the headache issue completely….but, for a valuable teaching moment..I would use the wand on the providers that have issues with trusting what a person KNOWS works for themselves….and let them have a few days of what we experience.

  • Jamie Sohn
    8 years ago

    I have a similar document. Over the years, figured out that I’ve had to do spacing btw lines, or it’s just a text dump to some MDs, and they stop reading.

    Also, I’ve based mine on a pain management modalities questionnaire, which allows the treating person to go system by system, Meds tried by Class, etc.

    I have a TON of allergies and adverse reaction to meds, so that gets its own section too.

    I noticed you put the Ketamine on yours. I’m always a little reluctant… Although I know that the doctor needs to know it, but I’ve had so many bad experiences with people thinking I’m on illegal drugs (sigh) Especially when I’m prodromey, and aphasia is going on Big time.

    I hate writing the pain meds section… especially since i rebound on NSAIDS at the speed of light- it’s just… well… Perhaps it’s just in my head (haha) or I’ve seen it too many times- “why can’t you take a combo drug like Percocet, and only can do oxycodone, etc..

    But I agree COMPLETELY! it’s great to have that document- shows you know what’s up, what you’ve tried, what’s happened since last appt- especially if you have multiple docs working on the same med. condition.

    -rambly (AKA Jamie)

  • Adele Schlazer Lester
    8 years ago

    Is the Princess Margaret Migraine Center still in existence in London? If so, see if you can get your son in there.

  • Pippa Del Nevo
    8 years ago

    I need this advice! Spoke to my doc today, referring my son to a gastroenterologist for what I’m sure is stomach migraine. Will he be able to help? Why can’t I see a migraine specialist? Feel I could cry, well I did actually in the Docs consulting room.

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