Doctors, Patient Education, Resources, Treatment

Partnering With Your Health Care Provider

Headache disorders and chronic pain take so much energy that it’s tempting to sit down with your doctor and say, “Fix me.” As good as this sounds, we know it’s impossible. Doctors aren’t mechanics, nor are human bodies as simple as cars. Some people swing the other way, believing that doctors only complicate matters. But it’s hard to forget that health care providers have specialized knowledge that patients need.

Recognizing your relationship with your health care providers as a partnership is a way to feel empowered and get the most useful information from your doctor.

Unfortunately, having your energy and focus depleted by illness can make it difficult to become an active team member. The April issue of HealthyWomen Take 10, a newsletter from the National Women’s Health Resource Center, provides concrete suggestions for becoming a partner with your health care providers.

3 thoughts on “Partnering With Your Health Care Provider”

  1. Terri i’d love to know who this neurologist in Toronto or in the area was.. i havent had such great luck with neurologists in Toronto.

  2. Terri i’d love to know who this neurologist in Toronto or in the area was.. i havent had such great luck with neurologists in Toronto.

  3. Interesting post. Thanks! I think it depends enormously on finding an open and caring physician. My last doctor, in Toronto, would sit for an hour and discuss and explain things to/with me and seemed to really care about my progress. My current doctor is afraid of headache-people and says “have you tried yoga” while holding his hand on the door knob to leave.

    However, my new neuro is a gem. He’s one of the best headache doctors in Canada but he will sit and listen and talk about everything, and leaves at least an hour for my appointments.

    So you need to find people who are on your wavelength and in your corner.

    The same thing is true for other networks…my massage therapist and physio talk to one another about me, and come up with ideas together. But it is hard to find disciplines like massage and physio with expertise in headaches. i got lucky and shopped around until I found a massage therapist with “connections” to a headache network, which thanks to patients like me, and an open mind on her part, she is working to expand.

    It takes desire on both sides of the equation, and in this busy world, we need to really shop around and ask for referrals and keep trying to build a network of health care supporters. There are good ones out there, but it can take a lot of trying to make connections that work!!

    Those are great points, Terri. You’re absolutely right that the provider has to be willing to engage in a partnership; otherwise you’re out of luck. I have been so fortunate with most providers I’ve worked with, so I sometimes forget how much variation there is from one to the next.


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