Manage Your Migraines-5 Tips To Prepare For Your First Doctor Visit

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Whether you’ve been tracking your migraines for a while or just started doing so recently, you will surely be able to communicate about your migraines with your doctor with much more ease. Your general practitioner or neurologist will most likely ask you a standard set of questions and ask about your progress from the last time you saw them. Since most doctors are usually very busy,your appointment will most likely be brief. Here are some ways you can better facilitate your doctor visit with the help of Migraine Buddy.

 
Know what your doctor will ask you

Your doctor will most probably ask you, amongst other things, the frequency of your migraines, what medicine you have been taking and what could be triggering them. Here are some questions your doctor may ask you:

  • How often do migraines occur?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Have any migraine triggers or causes have been identified?
  • Have you suffered any head injuries?
  • Did anything about the your routine change before the migraine pain began?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • When did the migraine symptoms first begin?
  • What makes the symptoms improve?
  • What makes the symptoms worse?
  • Does anyone else in your immediate family suffer from migraines?

(Source: Migraine.com)

The evolution of the symptoms,especially for those with chronic migraines, pain level and triggers etc of a migraine is inevitable. Over the course of a migraine event, your pain levels and symptoms may vary depending on the the medication you take as well as any other relief methods used. This is quite common occurrence for most migraines, especially those that last for a couple of days.

While it is a good idea to track this information for understanding how effective your medication is and what other relief methods help, your doctor may not ask for this information during your appointment. Since most doctors are quite busy, they most likely will not go through the evolution of each migraine. Your doctor may be more interested to see a general overview of how many migraines you had that month and if they had increased or decreased over time.

The best way to track these changes is to note them down in the daily notes section of Migraine Buddy. The notes section allows you to record many details.

Every time you feel a your pain level has reduced, you can record it in the notes and make sure tap the time stamp icon(from the top right corner of the screen) so that you know when the pain level change happened.

Keeping a record of your migraines can make it easier to answer these questions- most of the answers to the above mentioned questions can be easily recorded in Migraine Buddy. If you’ve been tracking your migraines before your first doctor visit, rest assured you have more information than most first time patients!

Record your migraines regularly

It can be useful to routinely record your migraines so that you don’t forget all the details related to them. Make sure you record the duration, frequency, symptoms and triggers to understand recurring patterns. This information will be able to let your doctor have a better overview of your illness.

triggers page

However, recording doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Migraine Buddy’s Bother Me Later button allows you to start a migraine and enter the details later if you aren’t feeling well enough to use your phone. If you are not recording your migraines in real time, just enter as much as you remember- some information is better than none! Details like the start and end time, your potential triggers and symptoms can be approximate and you can mention in the notes that it is an approximation.

You can also record headaches, even if they don’t culminate into a migraine. The notes section can be used to remind yourself that it was a headache that you entered.

Print out your migraine records

To make it easier for your doctor to quickly go through what you have recorded, make sure you print out your records a day before your appointment. You can do this by going to the migraine section of My Records and tapping on the export icon. Choose an email address you would like your records sent to- you can also choose to directly email your doctor your reports so he can view your records before hand ( depending on how busy your doctor is, he may or may not have time to look through all the entries in detail).

mListing

It may be a good idea to do a test print about a week in advance of your appointment to make sure there are no glitches with your printer. Printing a final version of your records a day before your appointment is a good idea- however if you have some issues, the copy you printed a week before can be a handy backup!

Make Notes To Record Extra Details

As you may know, you can also take additional notes for every migraine.  Many Migraine Buddy users take these notes to record variations in pain and symptoms and to record what they ate etc. These notes also get exported with your records and the best part is, they are time stamped! ( There is a small clock on the top right which lets you add the time a note was taken).

summary screen

Make sure you make notes if there is anything you want your doctor to know. However, if there are some reports you don’t want to show your doctor, you can easily copy paste your notes to Excel or Word, edit the part you want to keep private and then print them out.

Show your doctor your migraine calendar

Showing your doctor your migraine calendar can help him get a quick overview of how many migraines you had in the previous month. You can either screenshot your calendar or open up your app during the appointment and show it to your doctor. You can also show your doctor your sleep timings for him/her to see if sleep is affecting your migraines.

 

Don’t be disappointed if your doctor doesn’t go through your records in detail or at all. Doctors are usually extremely busy and have only a limited time to allot to each patient. Your records will still make it easier for you to discuss your condition with him/her and will also help you better understand your migraines.

 

Read More: Manage Your Migraines- Preparing For Subsequent Visits To The Doctor