Handling Migraine Attacks and Accessing Treatment During Coronavirus
While the Coronavirus might have brought normalcy to a standstill for much of the world, migraine attacks have not stopped. Indeed, many are experiencing an uptick in flare-ups due to the fact that stress is a trigger.
Many migraineurs count on seeing their doctors for regular in-person appointments for prevention treatment or to get prescriptions filled. We might also go to our doctor when we have an intractable migraine in order to avoid going to the ER. Or, as a last resort, we sometimes have to go to the ER to stop the worst attacks.
In this new strange world, how do we as migraineurs handle everything from accessing our doctors and key preventative treatment, to filling prescriptions, and treating an intractable migraine attack?
Most migraine patients see their doctors on a regular basis. Depending on your treatment protocol, that may might mean as frequently as once a month to once a quarter. These appointments may entail an examination, questions and answers, the administration of whatever preventative treatment you take (perhaps Botox injections), and prescriptions to last you to your next appointment. With our new reality, we are likely wondering how we will now get these needs met.
If you haven’t already, reach out to your doctor/ doctor’s office. Ask how they will be handling their appointments during this window of time. Some doctors are meeting with patients through telemedicine (either online or by phone). While there may be some technical glitches involved in this approach, it is better than nothing.
Advocate for yourself
Be sure to insist on time with your doctor if you need it. If you are dependent on a therapy that will not be available to you during this window of time, ask your doctor to help you brainstorm alternate solutions. For instance, if Botox injections are a key part of your preventative treatment, and are not going to be possible because the office is closed, ask your doctor what else you should have on hand if you experience an increase in migraine attacks.
No one wants to go to the ER for a migraine. Ever. But especially now when hospitals are overrun by people infected with COVID-19. So, talk with your doctor about potential workarounds to keep you from that reality.
We have heard from migraineurs who have lived through the virus and say that it caused them the worst migraine attacks of their lives. To this end, it’s important that you have the medications you need at home to keep you as comfortable as possible. Discuss this issue with your doctor.
It may be that some doctors will be more flexible in prescribing medications that normally would not be their first choice, including rescue medications like Toradol injections, Steroid dose packs, Phenergan suppositories, or certain opioids. Some states are also allowing call-in prescriptions for medications (like opioids) that normally require hard copies.
If you are pursuing other treatments or therapies in your life, such as physical therapy, counseling, or bodywork, think creatively about ways to maintain these healthy connections. Perhaps through online appointments, you can continue benefiting from these therapies that keep your mind and body healthy.
Please chime in below to share any ideas you have about how to navigate this challenging time so we can learn from one another. We are in this together and thinking of you.
When was your last migraine check-up?