Migraine: underdiagnosed, undertreated, misunderstood
Written by: Mojgan B. Jones, PA-C
Do you or some- one you know suffer from debilitating headache pain, perhaps accompanied by nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, or other symptoms? Then you or someone you love may be one of the more than 29 million Americans who experience migraines.
A migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by sudden and recur- ring attacks of disabling head pain. According to the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study (AMPP), migraine sufferers are misdiagnosed in more than 50% of all cases and only 29% of sufferers are “very satisfied” with their treatment. In a recent national survey, an estimated 157 million workdays were lost due to head pain.
There is hope, but finding the correct diagnosis is a shared responsibility between you and your health care provider. Successful treatment depends on patient education, assessment and intervention, adherence to medications, setting realistic expectations and most importantly, continuity of care.
Keeping a headache calendar is one of the most important tools that you need to share with your health care provider. Lifestyle modification may also need to be addressed, as diet, exercise, sleep patterns and other habits may actually be triggers for your migraines. Recognizing these triggers and learning about new medications and treatment plans now avail- able to migraine patients are important steps toward relief. Reach out to your health care provider now and explore the treatment plans that may be available to you.