If you suffer from frequent headaches, then you need to see a doctor for migraines right away- You might have migraine headaches, or another form of chronic headaches. Knowing which kind of doctor to see for migraines depends on your migraine headache symptoms, and specific needs for migraine treatment.
What kind of Doctor should I see for Migraines?
Part I: Primary Care Physicians
Most chronic headache sufferers begin migraine headache treatment by visiting their primary care physician, or family doctor. This is because they have established a patient history with them, and because they feel comfortable visiting a doctor whose advice they already trust. If your primary care doctor is unable to treat you for migraine headaches, then he will refer you to a specialist.
Even if your family doctor has not received training in migraine illness, he does have a basic set of principles to refer to in diagnosing your condition. These 12 principles for migraine management in primary care are as follows:
- Most headaches are benign, and can be treated by any competent physician.
- By supplying a questionnaire, you can determine to what extent chronic headaches have affected the patient’s quality of life (daily activities, work, etc.). This information is crucial for diagnosing illness and prescribing treatment.
- A physician-patient bond is necessary for providing migraine management.
- Migraine management should be specific to the patient, and tailored to meet his/her needs. Patient should be able to manage migraine treatments self-sufficiently.
- Physicians should routinely check up on their patient by reviewing a migraine diary in which the patient records migraine triggers, headache symptoms, foods eaten, and other relevant everyday headache information.
- Schedule re-evaluation check-ups, with special attention given to frequency of migraine drug use, and relative success in providing migraine headache relief.
- Migraine treatment should be adapted continuously to meet the changing needs of the migraine headache patient.
- Urge patients to use prescribed acute migraine medications responsibly, as indicated.
- Prescribe a pain reliever or other rescue treatment as a backup for when standard migraine treatments fail.
- For patients who don’t respond well to migraine medications, or who suffer more than four migraine attacks in one month, prescribe preventative migraine medications, in addition to suggesting certain lifestyle changes that are conducive to better migraine management.
- When prescribing preventative migraine treatments, take into account any comorbid conditions the patient might have.
- Develop a healthy professional relationship with your patient based on trust, mutual agreement, and consideration for the patient’s lifestyle.
When is it time to switch headache doctors?
If you feel that your primary care physician is not meeting your needs, then it might be time to shop around for a doctor that specializes in the field of migraine headaches.
Parts II and III discuss headaches specialists and neurologists.
Read more about migraine treatment:
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