Talking with Your Health Care Team to Get the Most Out of Your Appointments
Building a strong, positive team with your doctor’s office will help you get the care that you need to manage your migraines. Remember this is team work!
Here are some tips to have a productive collaboration with your health care provider.
NB We also wrote a page on what health care providers should be doing…have a look : )
See this post
Be open with your health care provider
Be honest about your goals, your current life situation and what you are willing and able to try and do. If you did not take a medication or were not able to implement a behavioral change, openly discuss what happened. If you feel like your health care provider doesn’t understand your goals and concerns, speak up.
Consider different options.
There are many options to improve your migraine situation, including lifestyle changes, medications, injections, and others. The more options you consider, the higher the chance of improvement! It is important to discuss and choose the options that you feel comfortable with.
Set Realistic Expectations
There are a few lucky people who will be super-responders to any treatment, but most people will have a partial response. This does not mean that you or your health care provider failed. Celebrate your successes and keep working together toward further improvements. (See this post, and this post)
Be on Time
Come to your appointments early enough so that you can be on time even if there is heavy traffic or another delay. If you have time in the waiting room, review your diary and what you want to discuss during the appointment.
Bring Written Questions
Write down your questions at home and let your health care provider know at the start of the appointment that you have some things that you would like to discuss. Asking questions early in the appointment allows your health care provider to pace the visit and make sure that everything gets covered.
Use Headache Diaries (and bring them)
Keep headache diaries (like the Canadian Migraine Tracker app) and bring them to your appointments. Keeping diaries helps your health care provider understand what’s been going on. Decisions are easier with a clear view of the situation.
Know your Medications
Keep an updated list of all the medications and supplements and their doses that you are currently taking. Keep a separate list of ones that you tried in the past, the doses, how long you took them, and why you stopped them. (For example, if you had a side effect, or they just didn’t work). (See this post, and this post)
Remember that your doctor is trying to help
If things are not going well, if you have side effects, if treatments do not work, you have every right to feel discouraged. Sickness is not fair. But try to avoid blaming your doctor or bursting in anger at him/her. If you seek support, you will most likely get it.
When to Contact the Clinic
If you have side effects or other issues, call for advice. Often side effects are expected when you first start a medication and many will lessen over time. Communicate and make a plan about how to move forward together. Don’t adjust the dose or frequency of your medications unless you have been given instructions to do so. Remember that your pharmacist can be an important ally in managing medications. (See this post)