Traveling to See a Headache Disorders Specialist
We know through research that the few Headache Disorders specialists we have in the United States are geographically concentrated in just a few areas. As a result, the reality is that many of us will need to travel to get the kind of care we need and deserve.
Like many of you, I live in a Headache Disorders specialist desert. Having been through the experience of traveling to see a specialist myself, I'd like to share some information about what to expect and offer my tips based on what I learned through the process.
First things first, why should you consider traveling if there aren't any Headache Disorders specialists in your geographical area? To receive the best possible care for Migraine, it is essential that you see a doctor who is an expert in the condition. A common mistaken belief about finding a doctor for Migraine is that you should see a neurologist. Many physicians who specialize in treating people with Headache Disorders are neurologists. But not every neurologist has special expertise and experience with Headache Disorders patients.
Finding a Headache Disorders Specialist
Trying to find the right doctor can be so intimidating and frustrating. I look at narrowing down the possible options it as a three-step process.
1. Look at lists of recommended specialists. Two great sources are:
2. Consider geographic location and your budget. Use travel distance and travel cost to narrow down the names on those lists. If you can travel a couple of hours by car you can do the trip rather economically. For those of us in certain parts of the country, that isn't an option at all, so we have to budget for hotels, flights, etc.
3. Talk to other patients. Utilize forums, Facebook groups and Twitter to connect with other Migraineurs. Ask them if they have experience with any of the doctors you're interested in trying. Try to get as many opinions as you can from people you respect. We're happy to tell you what we know about a given doctor at the members-only American Headache and Migraine Association forum.
Planning Your Trip
Ask the physician's staff for help with your travel arrangements. Many clinics and offices regularly see out of town patients and already have information available to help you find a nearby, affordable hotel and decide which airport to use.
You can expect to get an idea in advance of what your visit will be like, too. Every clinic or office does things slightly differently, but you'll want to find out how long they want you to stay in the area for evaluation and/or treatment before you can make travel arrangements and determine if a loved one can make the trip with you.
Finally, make sure you ask if the clinic or office takes your insurance or any insurance at all. Don't put yourself in the situation of arriving and being surprised by the clinic not accepting your insurance, the need for referrals required by your insurance company, being asked to pay a certain portion of your bill on the spot or other potential money-related snafus.
If you have questions about traveling to see a specialist generally or my personal experience, please share them in the comments.
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