Disclaimer: I Am a Nag – NOT a Doctor

I never went to medical school. What I am is a very lucky migraine patient who was properly diagnosed by a licensed, competent medical doctor. I sometimes quip that once you know what ailment you are dealing with, there is a long list of medical “How To…” procedures to pick and choose from. But first, you need to find out exactly why you have the headaches you are suffering from. 

I have enormous respect for the competence of medical doctors. Anyone who has spent half the years of their youth in anatomy class, learned 14-syllabic Latin medical terms and their function, attended surgeries, examined post-op patients, done rotations on countless specialty hospital wards, dealt with career-determining reams of paperwork, or spent sleepless nights studying for eternal oral, written, or performance exams and evaluations during their subsequent professional career deserves our respect. 

However, don’t hesitate to ask questions and debate anything you don’t agree with. Your doctor’s office is no time to be shy. Sometimes, that exchange will better inform the doctor. My attitude is: “Educate me, please, and then I’ll rely on my good sense.”

If you suffer from repeated headaches or worse – repeated severe headaches – and have not yet followed up on my first column’s advice to get a proper diagnosis from a licensed physician and to consult with your healthcare provider before you try any one of my tips, suggestions and experiences… now would be a good time to dial up a doctor…

Be kind to yourself sooner! There will always be someone there who thinks you don’t deserve it. That point can be argued, but you do most certainly NEED it! Good enough reason to get going.

It took 18 months of repeated articles, TV and radio spots before I finally went to relearn how to practice silent meditation.

With the wisdom that we all possess as children, we frequently enter into a meditative state at that early age… it is just something we stop doing as the busyness of life distracts us more and more. I would have been better off had I done it sooner.

If you suffer from headaches, either mild or especially if they are repeated or severe, it may be the luckiest break you could get. Consider them an early warning signal. While you think you may be suffering from migraines because family legend says your great-aunt suffered from them, these headaches could be indicating something imminently life-threatening – a stroke, an aneurysm, a Stage 4 prostate cancer (yeah, no kidding), acute appendicitis – and the actual list is much longer! 

Don’t rely on Dr. Internet, your co-worker’s similar experience, or a well-meaning family member. The devil is in the details—you may have exactly the symptoms that a certain text will list, yet one small bit of information dramatically changes a diagnosis, its urgency, and the necessary treatment. 

Go to a medical doctor. Don’t like his or her opinion? Get a second opinion. It took me 10 doctors over 10 years before the migraine condition was diagnosed in my case. 

Evaluate and minimize the risk. Being cautious does not turn you into a hypochondriac. You’ll serve yourself and those around you better if you get a medical course correction. No matter what I recommend, no matter my successful personal experience at completely eliminating excruciating migraine headaches, no matter how convincing my argument sounds—your body, your genetic heritage, and your lifestyle are different from mine. 

The easiest example is that I can eat peanut butter by the spoonful, and someone else who does the same will have a severe allergic reaction – from the same food item! A competent, professional medical doctor has an encyclopedia of details stored in their brain and can mentally run through all the possibilities, permutations and combinations that apply to your case. Just like a custom fit is a better fit, you deserve a medical opinion tailored to you.

Do yourself a favor: set aside this column for a moment and make an appointment with a medical doctor. And while he or she is treating your condition, do point out that there is a free online newspaper column with useful practical tips that can help the patients he or she has already diagnosed with the migraine condition(!). 


  • Carla Piringer

    Related to noted medical professionals, afflicted with an inherited excruciating migraine condition, the author followed traditional medical and alternative therapies, now living migraine-free for over 35 years. She now shares her doctor-recommended method in her book to inspire sufferers to find significant pain relief.

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