Knowing When To See Your Doctor
Going to the doctor is not something most people look forward to. In fact, I think most of us avoid it like the plague. I know I do. On my list of top 10 things I love to do, going to the doctor is about number one million and one.
That being said, seeing your doctor has its time and place, especially when it comes to your chronic headaches. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when to call uncle and make an appointment, and I'm right there with you.
So if you're in pain and on the fence about taking this next step, here are a few tips to help you know when it's time.
You don't know why you have headaches. If you've been suffering from chronic headaches for a while, but you've never seen a doctor about it, then it's time to go. The most important start to your pain-free journey is getting an accurate diagnosis. Until you have that, you'll be swimming blind. Headaches can be a symptom of so many different illnesses that you absolutely need to have a proper diagnosis before you begin the path towards healing.
- Your pain is unmanageable and interferes with your daily functioning. If your pain has gotten out of control, then it is time to get some help. One of the best things your doctor can help you do is interrupt the pain cycle with medication. This is not necessarily a long-term solution, but it can help you get your head above water long enough to formulate a plan.
- Your medication isn't working. If you've already gotten a diagnosis from your doctor and have been using pain medication to manage your headaches, you may find that sooner or later the medications stop working. Sometimes your body changes, and what used to work suddenly loses its effectiveness. Rather than suffer on your own, talk to your doctor about other options, because it is really important to have solutions in your toolbox that actually work.
The solutions your doctor will provide might not be long-term remedies. And it's always important to keep in mind that overusing pain medications can cause rebound headaches of their own. Your doctor will help you interrupt the pain cycle, but this might not heal your headaches completely. Your doctor, however, still needs to be a player on your team.
In my experience, long-term healing has come from making healthy lifestyle changes. Healing has been about improving my body's overall resilience and increasing my headache threshold. But I still have days when I need to take rizatriptan for a migraine. And you know what? It works. The major change is that those days have decreased from about 20 days a month down to 2 or 3. And that has made all of the difference in the world to me.
I encourage you to give it some thought. If it's time to see your doctor, then bite the bullet and make the appointment. It can be the first step on the road to healing. Even if nothing comes of it except the knowledge that you have migraines and not a brain tumor, then at least you have a better understanding of what you're dealing with. Finding things that don't work is just as important as finding things that do, because it means you are one step closer on your path towards healing.