Is Your Migraine Doctor Right For You?
Holly was recently kicked off her private disability plan. After a year, she won back her coverage. In this series, she walks us through the various steps she took and what it was like to navigate this experience.
When we are choosing a doctor to help us navigate the challenges of migraine, it’s helpful to carefully evaluate each part of the practice. There are many factors that help us evaluate whether or not a doctor will be a good fit. These include the front/nursing staff, the location, the office itself, whether or not the evaluation itself is comprehensive, and the manner of the doctor.
How is the administrative and nursing staff?
When evaluating whether or not we have a good fit with a doctor and his/her practice, we begin assessing the experience with the first phone call to set up the appointment. Are the front staff responsive, respectful, helpful and friendly? After all, it is these people who we will have to work with or through to get to our doctor.
How is the location?
We continue evaluating the experience as soon as we arrive at the location. How far is it, does it feel clean? Are the onsite staff friendly? Is the doctor welcoming?
Did I receive a comprehensive evaluation?
When we assess this factor, we are looking for a comprehensive evaluation that includes our completion of various assessments and the needs of our particular condition; a hands-on evaluation; and, thorough questions for a good history.
What is the manner of the doctor?
In addition to ensuring the doctor is gathering sufficient information on our case, the manner of the doctor is also key. Is s/he knowledgeable, engaging, kind, respectful, and compassionate? It’s important to remember that these doctors are going to see us through some of the toughest times of our lives as we navigate severe and frequent pain. Migraine has no cure, after all, so our doctors need to have patience and understand that treatment is about finding multiple solutions to address the severity and frequency of attacks.
What am I looking for?
Here are some important things to consider when evaluating a migraine doctor. Is s/he:
- Well-versed in the complexities of migraine?
- Knowledgeable about current trends in the field and/or available treatments?
- Willing to treat us holistically (including taking into account any additional conditions we may have)?
- Willing to explore treatment options outside of prescriptions?
- Willing to seek opportunities to coordinate our care with other treating doctors?
- Able to be patient with us if we are not responding well or quickly to treatment?
Is the doctor a migraine specialist?
We encourage those who are living with frequent or chronic migraine to seek evaluation and treatment from a migraine specialist. These doctors have received additional training in the complex neurological condition that is migraine.
Would I return?
It’s important to remember that we, as patients, should be evaluating potential migraine doctors in the same way they evaluate us. It is ultimately up to us to decide if we have a good fit with a doctor. This relationship is key to managing migraine.
As we often encounter first-hand, it can be an unfortunate challenge to find a compassionate, knowledgeable doctor who is open to partnering with us on our care. It’s an important part of the migraine journey to forge a positive connection with our doctors.
Are you pleased with your current provider? What is important to you in a good migraine doctor?
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