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An adult male is holding an oversized sticky note with bullet points on it in front of him. He is walking into a doctor

How to Advocate for Yourself at the Doctor’s

According to our 2018 Migraine In America survey data, 74% of those with migraine had to see more than one doctor before receiving a diagnosis.

As we know, it can be challenging to advocate for ourselves at the doctor’s to get helpful answers and treatments. I want to make a few suggestions in this video of what I’ve learned over the years can lead to a better treatment outcome and better experience overall.

No need to get out a pen and paper, I’ll outline below what I talked about.


Here is the outline of my tips:

  1. Collect data

    Take note of your symptoms. How many days do you have migraine symptoms, what is the intensity, what do you do to treat your symptoms, and how well does it help? It’s helpful to be able to clearly communicate what is going on.

  2. Be a squeaky wheel

    Keep bringing up the issue until there is a solution. Being persistent is different than being rude.

  3. Connect to the community

    Others going through the same thing may have insights and ideas.

  4. Prepare for the appointment

    Write down on a piece of paper that you can share with your doctor lists of medications and questions you have. It can be helpful to bring someone with you to appointments as well.

  5. Figure out their communication style

    Some doctors are great on the phone, others communicate well through the patient portal. Some will welcome a list of questions, others will want to lead the appointment with questions.

  6. Make sure you’re seeing the right kind of doctor

    In our 2018 Migraine in America survey, 48% were diagnosed by a neurologist. There is more than one type of doctor who can treat migraine, though headache specialists are more, well…specialized. Some primary care doctors can be good resources, too, if they are well-versed in migraine.

  7. Remember: it’s ok to switch doctors

    You don’t need to give a reason, and you don’t need to worry about hurt feelings. Don’t stick with a doctor if they’re not working for you and you have other options.


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

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