Do you have migraine attacks? If you do, it is time to change your doctor.
A study by the KJ Somaiya Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre has found that apart from medicines, a compassionate doctor can do wonders.
“Headache is the most common disease; but no one pays much attention to it,” Dr Srinath Chandramani, one of the two doctors involved in the study, said. “And doctors, too, do not give enough time to find out the causes of a headache. If it was say heart pain, doctors would go to great lengths to find out the root cause.”
Dr Hatim S Attar was the other researcher from Somaiya’s department of medicine. Their study was recently published in a medical journal.
The study was aimed at establishing the role of a physician’s empathy and how important is its impact on migraine treatment. The doctors studied 63 people suffering from migraine for the past one year.
Migraine, the doctors found, is common but it is under-diagnosed and under-treated. Since the attacks as well as its severity is unpredictable, patients find it difficult to plan or participate in social events or fulfil work responsibilities.
“Besides effective pain relief, migraineurs [those suffering from migraine] also need to be told of the triggers. They need to be reassured that their headache does not have a sinister cause,” Chandramani said.
The study found that patients not only flout treatment procedure but also misuse symptomatic medication. And this inevitably leads to treatment failure.
About one-fourth to half of the patients, the study found, do not stick to prophylactic headache medications. Lack of communication between a doctor and a patient ultimately leads to patients not following instructions. “But a doctor has to ensure that a patient understands instructions and follows them,” Chandramani said.
The study re-established a well-known fact: Possible triggers need to be explored and patients advised to avoid them. That would bring down the frequency of attacks.