Migraine: What to Do When Your Pain Is Dismissed

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Migraine is simply a communal neurological disorder, particularly among women. But only astir half of group who person it activity aesculapian attraction for these aggravated headaches, and astir hold earlier seeking thief from a doctor. Fewer than that time off nan doctor’s agency pinch nan correct test and a curen scheme that useful well.  

While deficiency of entree to attraction is simply a large a hurdle to managing migraine and 1 that affects group of colour and different underserved groups much often, immoderate experts deliberation gender bias plays a large domiciled successful why migraine is truthful often misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed, and undertreated. 

“It’s unluckily different illustration of bully aged misogyny,” says Christopher Gottschalk, MD, a neurologist and head of Yale Medicine’s Head & Facial Pain Center. “It must beryllium that women complaining of symptom successful their caput and can’t usability must beryllium lazy, neurotic, aliases trying to get distant pinch something. It can’t perchance beryllium that they person this (medical) problem.” 

No matter your race, ethnicity, aliases gender identity, it’s cardinal that a aesculapian master return your caput symptom seriously. That’s because you mightiness request a medicine for migraine-specific treatments. 

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Migraine 

Headaches are ne'er a locomotion successful nan park. But nan disabling quality of migraine sets these attacks isolated from different kinds of caput pain. Experts work together you should accent this life-altering facet to your doctor. 

“Don’t moreover usage nan connection headache,” Gottschalk says. “Talk about, ‘These episodes that I person make maine incapable to usability for immoderate number of hours aliases days connected a regular basis. And I can’t unrecorded for illustration this.’” 

Here are immoderate ways migraine episodes tin effect your life beyond caput pain:

  • You whitethorn consciousness sick to your tummy aliases propulsion up.
  • Light and sound whitethorn fuss you. 
  • You whitethorn get fatigued aliases person problem reasoning clearly. 
  • Your tegument whitethorn hurt.

If near untreated, these symptoms tin past for respective hours aliases up to a fewer days. Experiences of encephalon fog, tegument pain, aliases ray sensitivity whitethorn linger betwixt attacks, particularly if you get headaches a lot. 

During a migraine episode, you whitethorn not consciousness good capable to do mundane things. And you’ll want to stock pinch your expert each nan ways successful which this impairs your life. 

Here are immoderate questions to inquire yourself. Share nan answers pinch your doctor: 

  • Are you often leaving activity early aliases calling successful sick a lot?
  • Do symptoms impact schoolhouse aliases studying?
  • Are you incapable to attraction for your family during an attack?
  • Do you person problem being successful a agleam office?
  • Does ray from your machine surface aliases telephone fuss you?
  • Are you besides having symptoms of slump aliases anxiety?

Advocate for Yourself and Educate Your Doctor 

Most aesculapian providers cognize astir migraine, but not each expert specializes successful headache medicine. The bully news is location are tons of online resources that’ll thief you zero successful connected your caput symptom and get you person to nan correct treatment. 

“There’s thing called ID Migraine, which is simply a three-question surface that’s been validated a gazillion times,” Gottschalk says. “That’s nan benignant of point wherever you tin find that screen, reply it, and show it to your doctor.” 

According to ID Migraine, there’s a very beardown chance you person migraine if you reply yes to astatine slightest 2 of nan pursuing 3 questions: 

  • Has a headache stopped you from doing regular things for astatine slightest a time successful nan past 3 months?
  • Do you get nauseated erstwhile you person a headache?
  • Does ray aliases sound fuss you erstwhile you person a headache?

You tin besides spell complete nan POUND mnemonic, aliases representation aid, pinch your doctor. Tell them if you person astatine slightest 4 of nan pursuing during an attack: 

  • Pulsating caput pain
  • One-day long of headache (4 to 72 hours if untreated aliases curen doesn’t work)
  • Unilateral (one-sided) headache
  • Nausea aliases vomiting
  • Disabling headache

Visit trusted websites to study much astir really to place migraine symptoms. Some examples are:  

  • American Headache Society 
  • National Headache Foundation
  • American Migraine Foundation

You’ll besides find headache quizzes and info connected really to talk to your expert done groups specified arsenic Miles for Migraine, Migraine Again, aliases nan Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP). 

Ask to Try New Treatments

There are a number of medications that target and dainty nan acute migraine process. These treatments travel successful pills, shots, nasal sprays, aliases done a vein successful your limb (an IV). You whitethorn besides use from nondrug therapies. 

It’s difficult to foretell which migraine curen will activity champion for you. But location are galore ways to extremity a headache aft it starts aliases lessen your likelihood of having an onslaught successful nan future. 

Along pinch triptans, immoderate newer acute and preventive migraine treatments you tin inquire your expert astir are: 

  • Gepants (CGRP blockers)
  • Ditans
  • Dihydroergotamine (DHE)
  • CGRP antagonists
  • Neuromodulation devices

You whitethorn besides use from: 

  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Lifestyle changes

The extremity of acute migraine curen is to get you backmost to normal life. With effective acute migraine treatments, that intends state from headache symptom (or adjacent to it) wrong a mates of hours. Preventive therapy should lessen nan number of early attacks. And nan ones you do person should beryllium little aggravated and shorter. 

Get a Second Opinion

Let’s opportunity you’ve already talked to your regular expert astir migraine. And, for immoderate reason, you aren’t getting nan level of curen you want. The adjacent personification you’ll want to spot is apt a neurologist. 

A neurologist is simply a expert who specializes successful nan test and curen of encephalon and tense strategy disorders. And they should beryllium much acquainted pinch nan latest migraine narcotics and therapies.

Dawn Buse, PhD, is simply a migraine interrogator and objective professor of neurology astatine Albert Einstein College of Medicine successful New York City. She says astir group are good taken attraction of by their regular doctors. “But location are immoderate group pinch migraine whose illness whitethorn beryllium much analyzable aliases terrible who would use from seeing a neurologist,” she says.

Here are immoderate questions that tin thief you fig retired if a neurologist is correct for you: 

  • Have you already talked to a regular expert aliases OB/GYN astir your headaches?
  • Did your regular expert springiness you migraine meds that don’t activity good aliases origin broadside effects?
  • Are you pregnant aliases want to beryllium and you get a batch of superior headaches? 
  • Do you get 15 aliases much headache days a month
  • Have you had nan “worst headache of your life” aliases a alteration successful your headache pattern?

What if you’re already seeing a neurologist but still request much complete aliases precocious care? 

“If you want to study much astir nan latest successful state-of-the-art therapies aliases combinations of therapies, location are headache master wellness attraction professionals and headache centers astir nan country,” Buse says. “But location aren’t many, and they are located chiefly successful ample cities.”

Consider going successful for a consult erstwhile aliases doubly if you want to spot a headache master and they’re not covered by your security aliases they’re acold away. Buse says they whitethorn beryllium capable to create a curen scheme for you that your section neurologist aliases regular expert tin follow. 

Visit nan National Headache Foundation aliases American Migraine Foundation to find a headache expert aliases master adjacent you. 

Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd / Getty Images


Christopher Gottschalk, MD, director, Yale Headache & Facial Pain Center; professor of neurology, Yale School of Medicine. 

Dawn Buse, PhD, licensed psychologist; objective professor, Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; committee member, American Headache Society.

Frontiers successful Neurology: “Giving Researchers a Headache – Sex and Gender Differences successful Migraine.” 

Annals of Medicine: “A logical attack to migraine test and guidance successful superior care.” 

American Migraine Foundation: “Racial Disparities successful Migraine and Headache Care,” “What Is a Headache Specialist? Do I request One? And How Do I find One?” “Find a Doctor.”  

Neurology: “Factors Associated With, and Mitigation Strategies for, Health Care Disparities Faced by Patients With Headache Disorders.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Migraines successful adults (Beyond nan Basics).” 

National Headache Foundation: “Headache Management Tools: ID Migraine,” “Find Certified Providers.” 

American Family Physician: “Acute Migraine Headache: Treatment Strategies.” 

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