Tips for finding this vital part of your migraine support team
Living with migraine means spending a lot of time with your provider. That can be a primary care provider or headache specialist. But prescribing medication and providing guidance on treatment aren’t the only things they do. They can also become an advocate for you as you manage migraine in all parts of your life.
It is important to find a provider that has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders. We know that finding the right provider isn’t always easy. So we asked members of our Move Against Migraine group for advice. Here’s what they have to say.
How Did You Find Your Doctor or Migraine Specialist?
Get referrals from friends or primary care providers
Friends and community members can be great resources in the search process along with primary care providers. Listening to people you trust can help you find a migraine specialist who will help guide you in your journey.
“My primary care provider referred me to a neurologist who is a headache specialist,” says MAM Member Deena. “It does pay to get in to see someone who knows and cares about our issues.”
You can also make these helpful connections online in virtual support groups and communities. Bridget began by searching for a doctor near her on the American Migraine Foundation’s online database of neurologists and other healthcare professionals. Then, she asked other patients for their input. “I engaged with community members in the Move Against Migraine support group to see if anyone had experiences with the location I was considering,” she shared.
Do your research on the practice and physician
You can call ahead to get more detailed information about the practice or the specific doctor. MAM Moderator Chris did this herself before she visited a new physician for treatment. “I asked about the specific person they were trying to connect me with,” Chris says. “Were they a certified headache specialist? More importantly, had they ever heard of and successfully treated my diagnosed migraine type.”
Even if you do research in advance, the provider may lack experience in diagnosing and treating specific headache disorders. It can be frustrating to start over with each doctor. But don’t feel discouraged as finding a healthcare professional with the necessary experience is the priority. While you may not “click” with the first doctor you visit, finding the right successful patient-provider relationship can make all of the difference on your migraine journey.
Make the most of your visit
To have a successful visit, prepare by keeping a migraine journal so that you can describe your migraine in detail. You should also be able to provide your full medical history to your doctor so they have a well-rounded view of your health. Thoroughly planning for your appointment will help you make the most out of your visit.
Advocate for yourself by preparing for your appointments and making your needs and goals clear. It’s important to rely on your migraine support team as you look to add a migraine specialist to the mix. That way, you can find the best migraine treatment strategy for you.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. With this in mind, AMF founded Move Against Migraine, a Facebook group with a mission to provide support and solutions for people with migraine and their loved ones. Join today to learn more. You can also share your story to show the world what migraine looks like and how it affects people every day. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.
Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundation’s subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. Click here to read about our editorial board members.