Whether you’re brand new to migraines, or like me and suffered with migraines so long you can’t even remember not having them…the broad acceptance of telemedicine is a game changer for migraine headache sufferers everywhere! Headaches have been a part of my life since forever. Over time, I’ve seen all kinds of doctors, with all kinds of opinions and taken all kinds of medications. Some take headaches seriously. Other’s act like laying in a dark room for 6 hours barfing might just be a tension headache. But one thing is for sure, the doctors ask a lot of questions and I do a lot of talking…and then it’s trial and error to see what works best to reduce or relieve my migraine headaches. There is no test to identify migraine triggers or determine which medication will help best for our specific headache. What does this all really mean? It means that us migraine sufferers don’t necessarily need to see our doctors in-person to get diagnosis and treatment for our migraines…cue Telemedicine for Migraines! A silver lining of Coronavirus is the mass migration toward and adoption of telemedicine for many conditions, and that list includes Migraines!
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In actuality, telemedicine has been believed to be effective for migraine treatment for many years, but Coronavirus has brought new and wider acceptance, broader insurance coverage and more comfort with the technology for more patients.
When is Telemedicine most helpful for migraines?
- You reside in a remote area, where seeing doctor is challenging.
- Your regular doctor is not current on migraine management and treatment.
- When you require a different format of prescription – for example maybe you typically take tablets but vomited and need a nasal spray (or an anti-nausea medication).
- You are out of medication and have a migraine and need a refill ASAP.
Telemedicine does not replace the ER. If your condition is life threatening or elevated, please call 911.
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Is is expensive to use telehealth for migraine treatment?
Most telemedicine providers post their rates openly, so even those without insurance can plan accordingly and pay in cash to get immediate help with migraines. It’s usually significantly cheaper than urgent care and or an office visit. Most will treat migraines with medication via phone/video, but note the doses and refills they will fill from a single call may vary, but that’s true of in-person doctors too.
Money saving tip:
If you don’t have insurance (or don’t have good prescription coverage), check out GoodRX (it’s also a mobile app)! The site/app will give you a code the pharmacy uses as the insurance code – they are accepted at Walgreens, Target, CVS, Costco and most major pharmacies (and smaller ones, though the big chains are cheaper). I find they can even be less than my insurance copay! You can compare which pharmacy will cost what, and choose the lower cost options. Honestly it’s just awesome…this post is NOT sponsored by them LOL! I use it myself for a medication my insurance doesn’t cover and it’s just truly been a lifesaver!
What will the Doctor ask me about my migraines on a Telemedicine call?
- How long have you been having Migraines?
- Which area of your head is most often affected?
- How long to they typically last?
- How many migraines do you get monthly?
- Do you have any new or recently changed symptoms?
- Do you currently take any Prescriptions for migraines, and are you looking to receive a refill today for that RX?
- Do you have light sensitivity, nausea or vomiting?
- Have you tried keeping a journal, an elimination diet or diet modifications?
- What medications do you take (migraine, non-migraine, regularly and/or occasionally)? What medications have you tried for migraines before?
- Do you have any questions about migraines, treatments or anything else today?
Every doctor may have their own unique set of questions, but if you’re new to talking to a doctor about migraines, this list of questions will help you be prepared for your telehealth call for migraines.
These questions are basically the same as seeing a doctor in-person 🙂
Which Telemedicine providers treat migraine headaches?
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How can I prevent migraines without medication?
If you’re new to migraine headaches, or just tired of taking medication…you might be wondering how to reduce or eliminate migraines without using medications? It is possible! It does take time, a LOT of trial and error, and while not 100% successful…it’s 100% worth doing this! Most doctors will ask you to track your migraine triggers and try to get a good handle on what is causing them as a part of a migraine headache treatment program.
- Keep a Migraine Journal. Track your migraines for at least a few weeks, making note of the foods you ate, medications you took, activity and stress levels, as well as the duration and symptoms you experience. The goal of this exercise is to document the time leading up to headaches and identify patterns. Additionally, this information is helpful to have handy in order to answer questions when you talk with your doctor.
- Process of Elimination. Through your migraine journal, you’ll track your environment, what you consume and your physical activity prior to your migraines in order to identify commonalities and hone in on what may trigger migraines for you. From there, you can begin to trial removal of isolated activities, foods, etc in order to naturally reduce occurrences. Prevention is truly the best migraine medicine!
Common Migraine Triggers
Determining the cause of your migraines is essential in migraine headache management. The causes, or “triggers” as we call them, are different for everyone. Some can bring on a migraine in minutes, others hours or even a day later. Although different for everyone, there are some common triggers across headache sufferers. These include (but are not limited to!):
- Hormones (primarily affecting women). Before or during menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause, oral contraceptives* and hormone replacement therapy* can all bring on regular migraine headaches.
- Drinks. Alcohol, in particular red wine, diet sodas (aspartame and other sugar substitutes) and caffeine are common migraine headache triggers.
- Foods. Aged cheeses, food dyes, excess salt and a number of artificial ingredients found in processed foods are common triggers for headaches, as are changes in diet and skipping meals.
- Weather Changes. A dramatic change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Stress. Stress is a known migraine trigger.
- Environmental Triggers. Bright lights, including sun glare, strong smells such as fresh paint or nail polish remover as well as loud sounds can all bring on migraine headaches.
- Sleep Problems. Restlessness, excess sleep, jet lag and interrupted sleep can all contribute to migraines.
- Physical Activity. Above average physical activity, including sexual activity, can provoke migraines in some people.
*Occasionally hormone medications can also reduce migraines.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice, do not rely on it as such. I’m a fellow migraine sufferer, sharing my experience and research. Migraines can also be an indicator of more seriously illness so talk to a doctor!
Do you get migraines? What helps yours? Do you know your triggers? I’d love to hear your experiences or advice! If you have any questions please drop them below, I’ll reply and other readers can help answer them too!
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