When you’ve suffered with migraines for a while, and they are a regular and debilitating occurrence, it’s important to visit a specialist to get to the root cause of your problems and plan a course of treatment that can release you from the upset and pain of regular migraines.
Suffering the pain, and associated symptoms, of migraines on a regular basis can lead to stress, unhappiness and depression – and can get in the way of work and studies, as well as making driving difficult, and interrupting everyday activities.
When you’re planning to visit a migraine specialist there are some details that would help to ensure the appointment goes well, and your treatment and plan of action can be put into place as quickly as possible.
- Go armed with details.
Your migraine may have some of the most obvious and expected symptoms – the pain in specific areas of your head, the nausea, the aura, the blurred vision – but not everyone experiences all of the symptoms. Detailing exactly how your migraines affect you, what signs let you know there’s an attack beginning, how long it all lasts, and how you feel after the pain subsides are all important details that will help your migraine specialist to fully understand your specific issues and the ways that they can help you with treatment.
- Keep a diary.
A detailed migraine diary with information on how often your migraines strike, the first signs, the details of the development, what you did to counter the pain and all the symptoms you suffered is helpful.
Along with that, detail what you’ve eaten and had to drink – caffeine and alcohol are both known triggers, as are many additives in foods. Any atmospheric changes, weather patterns or time spent before electrical screens can all be contributing factors. Disruption in usual sleep patterns can also be a trigger.
If you keep a detailed diary you will be able to spot patterns in the possible triggers. That will help in conversations with your migraine specialist, who is able to talk through changes in lifestyle and diet that may help, as well as any other possible treatments, medications and advice that will reduce the symptoms, if not prevent your migraines from striking altogether.
It also means that if there are underlying reasons behind your condition – and your repeated migraines – your practitioner is already one step ahead of the basics, and able to carry out further investigations.
Remember to include details on your stress levels, life events and emotional state, as these are also contributing factors.
- Ask the right questions.
When you visit your migraine specialist have a list of questions prepared so that you get the right information and are able to address the causes of your pain.
Questions like what are likely triggers, what kinds of tests are available and what course of action they recommend are a good place to start.
Ask whether they suggest any changes to your lifestyle based on your diary, and what other conditions you have, or medications you’re taking, could affect your migraines.
Ask for printed materials that explain your condition in more detail, and the treatment or investigations that they recommend, so that you have all the information you need.