A recent survey found that doctors and patients recalled their migraine visits very differently. The survey indicated that a high percentage of doctors (Above 70%) discussed the timing of migraine medication intake, specific migraine triggers, and other potential migraine cures, while only an average of 19% of patients could recall those conversations. In other words, doctors think that they adequately cover the topics that they feel are important for migraine sufferers. Patients, on the other hand, do not believe that doctors sufficiently cover the topics they feel are important to them. The survey, conducted by Harris1, asked 1,218 diagnosed migraine patients and 533 physicians who routinely treat five to ten migraine sufferers per week.
I am not surprised by these findings because I have myself had many such encounters with doctors who really have no business trying to “cure” your migraines. Doctors, in general, have a misguided belief that migraines are incurable and therefore only medications can alleviate episodes. Of course this is not true and I am proof of that. I have seen doctors that tried to describe my migraine episodes using complex Venn diagrams or simply claimed that finding my specific migraine triggers was going to be like finding a needle in the hay stack. It is extremely expensive to see doctors for migraines because each office visit will run you around $150-$300 and that does not include the specific allergy tests in addition to other tests that they will also want to run that can cost anywhere from $500-$800 and are not usually covered by your insurance. It is plausible that there might be one specialist for every 100,000 migraine sufferers but I have yet to meet such a specialist. Save your money and begin your own search for your specific triggers.
I often talk about food triggers on this site and for good reason. All of the migraine sufferers that I have spoken to are able to describe certain foods or food groups that they should avoid but yet they do not. When they mention diets to doctors, they are often told that trying to find specific foods can be cumbersome and they might remove something from their diets that might be essential to them. You can always eat supplements in the worst case but it is not that difficult to find your offending foods – It just takes time. Read the article “Writing your first food journal” on this site in order to get started. It describes the entire process and it is very easy to follow. Most of the agents that you will eliminate are non-essential and can easily be removed.
There are, of course, non-dietary migraine triggers such as: changes in barometric pressure, sleep deprivation, stress etc. that could be specific to your episodes. However, based on my own research, you can reduce your own migraine episodes almost entirely by eliminating Tyramine, MSG, caffeine, and other specific foods and drinks from your diet. I know that it is tempting to just want to go to someone for relief but it is not worth it. Try not to go to doctors and so-called migraine specialists for a cure, because not only are they expensive but they will try to prescribe heavy medications instead of helping you find your specific migraine triggers.
1. www.upi.com, “Doctors, patients recall visit differently”