Best Finding a Migraine Doctor
You have severe, debilitating headaches that cause you to vomit and huddle in a dark room for hours waiting for them to go away. Chances are they are migraines.
The only way to know for sure, and start on the path to managing your condition if they are migraines, is to be properly diagnosed.
If your regular doctor does not feel qualified to properly diagnose the source of your headaches or discounts your pain, it may be time for a specialist.
Ask your doctor for a referral to a headache specialist. If they do not know anyone, check with your insurance company to see if they have any specialists listed.
If that doesn’t work (or even if it does), contact your local medical board. You can also try one of the major headache organizations for professionals, not patients, and ask for the name of three or four specialists in your area.
Check with friends and family. The odds are good you know someone with migraines and they may just have a doctor they love. Another good place to ask for a referral is at a local teaching hospital or university.
When you have a few names, call and find out more about the doctor. Some good screening questions to ask the doctor are:
* How long have you been specializing in headache treatment and how often do you treat headache patients?
* Are you certified in your specialty (for doctors in the U.S. and Canada)?
* Do you belong to any headache-oriented professional organizations?
* Do you participate in any kind of continuing education program to stay apprised of the latest research on headache diagnosis and treatment?
Don’t Let Frequent Bad Headaches Control Your Life
Imagine a headache so bad that the slightest noise or glimpse of light will increase the already intense pain and nausea you are experiencing-and your only refuge is to lie down in a quiet, dark room.
This may be what it is like if you are a person who suffers from migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches affect millions of people in the U.S.-including one of the nation’s most famous TV and film actresses, Marcia Cross.
More than 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, which affect three times more women than men. If left untreated, migraines can disrupt your life, even making it impossible to participate in daily activities.
Fortunately, Marcia was quickly diagnosed when she saw a doctor-likely because she experiences classic migraine symptoms, including nausea and visual disturbances known as aura.
Yet, despite her quick diagnosis, Marcia struggled with her migraines for years because she was unable to manage them effectively. On one occasion, the pain was so bad that she ended up in the emergency room.
Then, about 10 years ago, she finally found relief. While on the set, she experienced a migraine headache so bad that she had to be driven home.
“Fortunately, a woman on the set who also experienced migraines told me about how she found relief with a migraine-specific treatment called Imitrex® [sumatriptan succinate] Tablets,” says Marcia.
“That was a turning point for me. I visited my doctor again and he prescribed it for me, too. It worked for me and I have been taking it ever since.”
Since then, Marcia has also learned more about her migraines, and how stress and certain foods can trigger them.
Now, while migraines are still part of her life, they don’t control it. “I’m not afraid of them anymore-I know my triggers and how to avoid them.
Even so, I still may get a migraine from time to time, so I carry my prescription migraine medicine at all times. I take it at the first sign of migraine pain, so I can get back to my life,” says Marcia.
Today, Marcia Cross is speaking out about her own struggle with migraines with the hopes that her efforts will help other migraine sufferers see a doctor to get the help they need.
“I struggled for several years because, at the time, there was nothing that helped me with my migraines,” says Marcia. “But today, there is no reason to suffer.
There are effective migraine-specific medications that can help manage your migraines. But the first step is to talk to a doctor and get diagnosed.”
Diagnosis sounds simple, but it can be a real challenge for migraine sufferers. In fact, nearly half of all people who suffer from migraines are undiagnosed.
Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person and from attack to attack and many people don’t experience the classic migraine symptoms-making diagnosis more difficult.
Misdiagnosis can be a problem for migraine sufferers, too. Migraine pain can occur on both sides of your head, and can include additional symptoms like a runny nose, sinus/face pain and pressure, and neck pain.
Because patients don’t commonly associate these additional symptoms with migraine, many people may be misdiagnosed with tension or “sinus” headache.
This presents a real problem, because misdiagnosis of migraine as “sinus” headache can lead to unnecessary expense, including tests, medications and sometimes even surgery. This can also delay the relief of pain for migraine sufferers.
What You Can Do
If you suffer from frequent bad headaches, there are simple steps you can take to get the help you need. Learning to recognize and explain your symptoms is the first step. Migraine sufferers who are able to accurately report their symptoms are more likely to obtain the proper diagnosis.
Because symptoms can vary from attack to attack and person to person, it can seem challenging to know what kind of information to share with your doctor.
But there are tools that can help. “One tool that can help you relay what you are experiencing is the Headache Quiz, available at www.headache quiz.com,” says Marcia.
“I encourage anyone suffering from frequent bad headaches to take the quiz and talk to their doctor about their results. Once they get the right diagnosis, they can get the help they need.”
Important Safety Information About Imitrex®
Imitrex is approved for the acute treatment of migraines with or without aura in adults.
Patients should not take Imitrex if they have certain types of heart disease, history of stroke or TIAs, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud syndrome, or blood pressure that is uncontrolled.
Patients with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or being a smoker, should be evaluated by a doctor before taking Imitrex.
Very rarely, certain people, even some without heart disease, have had serious heart-related problems. Patients who are pregnant, nursing or taking medications should talk to their doctor.
Survey Shows Two-Thirds of Migraine Sufferers Dissatisfied
If you haven’t found relief for migraine, you’re not alone. About 28 million people suffer from the severe, throbbing pain of migraine, which can last from hours to days, keeping sufferers from family, work and daily life.
Yet, two-thirds of patients say they are less than satisfied with their current treatment, according to a survey of 3,064 migraine sufferers conducted by Pfizer.
Sufferers may often feel discouraged and unmotivated to discuss the pain and impact with others, even their doctors.
To help sufferers overcome barriers that can prevent them from seeking effective pain relief, life coach and migraine sufferer Rhonda Britten is speaking out as part of a new education campaign sponsored by Pfizer.
“The impact of migraine on a person’s life can be tremendous,” said Britten, star of the reality show “Starting Over.” “But many are living with pain because they have become too frustrated to do anything more to help themselves.”
Applying problem-solving techniques that she developed through her Fearless Living Institute, Britten has created a series of exercises to motivate sufferers to talk with their physicians.
Specifically, the tools take sufferers though a step-by-step process to help them assess the impact of migraine on their daily lives, identify why they have not taken action to find adequate pain relief,
and ultimately have more productive discussions with their doctors. The tools are available in a free brochure called “Be Stronger Than Your Migraine,” by calling (866) 519-0300.
Dr. Dion Graybeal, assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, agrees that too many migraine patients suffer needlessly.
“Patients must play an active role in seeking out the care they need,” Graybeal said. “Even sufferers who feel like they have ‘tried everything’ may not be aware of all the treatment options available to them. Patients need to feel comfortable talking to their doctor to find what is right for them.”
Vanessa Simmons, 27, has had migraine since high school.
“I assumed that all treatments worked the same so I didn’t go back to my doctor to tell her that I wasn’t getting relief,” she said.
“Thankfully, I finally opened up about the impact migraine continued to have on my life and worked with my doctor to identify the right treatment for me.”
The new brochure is part of the free tool kit developed by Pfizer, “Understanding in a Box,” that also includes tips for family and friends, information about effective treatment, and the children’s book “Mama Lion’s Migraine.”
Paralysis and hemiplegic migraine
Those who think of migraine as “just a bad headache” may be surprised to hear about hemiplegic migraine, a type of migraine that can involve weakness or even paralysis on one side of the body.
But those familiar with migraine know that it’s much more than a headache.
In fact, it’s often not a headache at all! Migraine attacks involve a number of symptoms. Headache is a common one, but there can also be nausea, skin sensitivity, a sensitivity to light or sound, confusion or weakness.
Hemiplegic migraine is a specific type of migraine. Usually, it’s divided into two types – sporadic hemiplegic migraine and familial hemiplegic migraine.
BOth types are similar, the difference being that those with familial hemiplegic have a close relative that gets migraine with aura – particularly the symptom of weakness.
If you’ve got hemiplegic migraine, either familial or sporadic, you may experience:
Sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (temporary)
Numbness, a pins-and-needles prickling sensation
Headache and hemiplegic migraine may go together. This is considered to be one of the most severe forms of migraine, with reason. The sufferer can be incapacitate by an attack.
This is good reason to see a doctor, and if diagnosed to make sure that you carry with you some sort of medical identification at all times.
There are other challenges when it comes to hemiplegic migraine.
First, the number of severe symptoms that need to be treated all at once, including weakness or paralysis. Second, the connections with stroke mean that the most common migraine-targeting medications (triptans and egotamines) are not recommended.
There is good news! For one thing, new genetic research is helping us to diagnose this type of migraine more easily.
Also, there are many other migraine treatments and medications that can be used, and that have been used successfully. The important thing, however, is to seek expert help as soon as possible.
If you’re already aware of a migraine connection, find a headache and migraine specialist if at all possible. If you’re not sure, make sure you see a doctor so that she can rule out other severe problems, such as stroke.
If you seek help right away, you can avoid serious problems. There is help available, as we understand more and more about migraine, paralysis and other types of headache.
Relieve Migraine Headaches the Natural Way!
Natural treatment methods for migraine headaches are usually harmless and cheaper than traditional pain medications.
Sure, it is possible to have negative reactions to natural treatments, but the chances are much less than with medications.
Different things work for different people. No two people are alike and a headache treatment method that works for one person may not work for another.
But on the contrary, just because one method does not work for someone else does not mean it will not relieve your migraine headaches.
There are many alternatives to taking medications when it comes to migraine headache relief. One may be just what you need.
Chiropractic adjustments are surely the most popular form of natural headache relief. Patients with migraine headaches have been visiting chiropractors for decades, and with very good success.
As many as 80% or more of headache patients find relief with chiropractic care. Spinal problems do cause headaches and chiropractors do an outstanding job of correcting spinal problems.
Biofeedback is a training program designed to help a person develop the ability to control their autonomic (involuntary) nervous system.
After learning the technique it is then possible for a person to control their heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, and of course, the relaxation of their muscles.
Muscle tension can cause headaches and by relaxing muscles, especially in the neck, it is possible to relieve migraine headaches.
Once the technique is learned there is no longer any need for the biofeedback equipment. The patient with migraine headaches can now produce the desired effect any time they wish.
Sometimes too much salt can cause headaches. And by simply lessening the salt intake headaches can sometimes be prevented.
Some migraine headaches are caused by food sensitivities. Certain foods can cause migraines and eliminating these foods can prevent migraine pain.
Some common foods that can trigger migraine headaches are cheese, alcohol, monosodium glutamate (a food additive), nuts, beans, caffeine, chocolate, onions and others.
A very common cause of many tension headaches and migraine headaches is just plain old stress. People that get tense experience headaches from the increased tension.
Relieving tension can often relieve migraine headaches.
Tension can be relieved in many ways such as by taking a warm bath or shower, lying down in a quiet dark room to rest, putting something cold on the back of the neck
(at the base of the skull) or having someone massage your neck muscles and possibly your temporal region to help relieve your tension and muscle spasms.
There are many other natural treatments available to migraine headache patients including the Soothe-A-Ciser Migraine Headaches Cushion. This pillow was designed by a chiropractor to help correct neck problems that can cause headaches.
All of the above treatment methods for migraine headaches are considered safe. However, it is always a good idea to talk with your doctor before attempting to treat yourself for a health problem.
Stop Confusing Migraine from Headache
In the US alone, thousands of people suffer from mild to severe case of migraine attacks.
Migraine, which is a known neurological disease, may most likely develop from a simple everyday nuisance to a serious life-threatening experience. Since treatments for migraine headache are very costly, very few individuals consult their condition to a doctor.
There are a number of recognized causes of migraine. According to experts, migraine may be triggered by the following factors:
1.Loud noises and bright lights
2.Abrupt changes in sleeping patterns
3.Too much consumption of caffeine and alcohol
4.Fluctuations in menstrual cycle
5.Too much smoking
7.Emotional and physical stress
8.Changes in weather
However, there are times when a migraine occurs for no reason at all. With this, experts presuppose that migraine triggers most when one is exposed to a number of environment-related factors.
Doctors always advise their patients to keep a note of their headache and migraine attacks, thus, making it easier for them to identify which factors commonly trigger the painful attacks.
This will also help patients differentiate simple headaches from serious migraine condition.Many people often falsely refer headache as migraine. The truth is that migraine is not just a headache.
Unlike the simple headache that can be easily cured by taking medications, migraine requires consultation to a neurologist followed by a series of treatment. Majority of the recommended treatments, however, are not entirely effective.
Differentiate migraine from headache: Know the indicatorsAs stated earlier, many individuals confuse migraine from a bad headache.
To know if what you have is already a serious migraine condition, the following are the three indicators to consider:
1.A feeling of nausea
It is no longer a mere headache if you constantly feel nauseated. Most of the time you will feel a wave of nausea, but sometimes it goes with vomiting. Changes in body temperature coincides with this condition.
Another indication of migraine is the re-occurring pain on either the left or right side of the brain. The pain often starts in the eyes then goes down to the neck.
You will know if it is already a serious case of migraine when you are experiencing visual disturbances. If your eyes become overly sensitive to light; you often see flashing lights before you; or you somehow develop temporary blindness, now is the time for you to visit a neurologist to confirm your condition.
Most of the conventional treatments for migraines are not 100 percent effective. As such, many individuals suffering from migraine attacks resort to alternative cures.
One of the known alternative treatments is the acupuncture, which helps prevent headache from further developing. While some make use of relieving scents and incense, others believe that sleep is the best solution for migraine.
Since migraine attacks usually follow a series of pattern, doctors always advice patients to avoid interrupting the cycle by not taking any painkiller or other relieving treatment. Ignoring the pain is more likely to lessen the duration of the attack.
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