Your Guide to Telehealth for Migraine

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How to Get the Most Out of a Virtual Doctor Visit for Migraine

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Meeting with your migraine doctor over phone call or video chat has become increasingly popular because it offers faster care of the same quality as in-person visits. At the same time, it relieves those with migraine of the added discomfort of getting to an appointment and sitting in a waiting room while their head pain makes it harder to move, let alone drive or fully engage with their doctor. To get the most out of your virtual doctor visit for migraine, take a few easy steps in advance. Confirm your insurance coverage, test your technology, and make a quick list of your latest symptoms and suspected triggers to ensure you get all the benefits of this convenient tool.

Does your insurance cover migraine telemedicine? (Probably.)

Most insurance providers in the United States cover telemedicine visits as if they were in-person visits. There’s no difference in coverage. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid and Medicare led the way in covering telemedicine for patients and providers in different states. Many states followed suit, making cross-state coverage mandatory for private insurers. However, while your migraine telemedicine appointment will likely be covered, it’s a good idea to double-check so you don’t have a surprise expense.

Test your technology and try out your space before your virtual doctor visit.

You’ll likely need two main tools for a virtual video visit—an Internet connection and a device with a camera and mic. High-speed Internet of at least five megabits per second is recommended. If you’re not sure how fast your connection is, give your service provider a call.

Your device can be a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Whatever you use, just make sure it’s fully charged, and the speaker, microphone, and camera are working properly before your visit. If you have more than one device, you may want to test it, too, for back-up.

Try to find a quiet, private space in your home for your visit, with good natural light to help your doctor see you better. Your doctor may want to look closely at your eyes, arms, hands, legs, or feet.

Some doctors ask their patients to set up a few items for testing signs and symptoms of migraine. Ask your doctor if you need to have any of the following on hand:

  • Thermometer
  • Blood pressure cuff
  • Tape measure
  • Flashlight
  • Ice
  • Hand weights

Jot down your recent migraine symptoms and triggers.

What has your migraine experience been like lately? How many hours did each episode last, and how many days of the past month did you have an episode? Be sure to keep a nearby list with all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications. Make note of any symptoms, including the location and severity of head pain, auras, or vomiting. Think about how much these symptoms have interfered with your daily life. See if you can connect the timing of episodes to any of these common triggers:

  • Change in schedule
  • Sleep problems
  • Taking medicine
  • Eating certain foods like chocolate, yeast, or cured meats
  • Drinking caffeine or alcohol
  • For women, menstrual cycle

At the end of your appointment, your doctor will be able to prescribe medication or recommend specific self-care routines to help ease your symptoms. While some tests and treatments can only be given in-person, you can expect telemedicine to get you most of—if not all—the way there.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Oct 21
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Migraine. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://medlineplus.gov/migraine.html
  2. Dos and Don’ts for Telemedicine for Migraine. Global Healthy Living Foundation. https://www.ghlf.org/dos-and-donts-for-telemedicine-for-migraine/
  3. Four Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Telemedicine Appointment. U.S. Pain Foundation. https://uspainfoundation.org/blog/4-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-telemedicine-appointment/
  4. Telemedicine for Migraine Patients. Association of Migraine Disorders. https://www.migrainedisorders.org/telemedicine/
  5. Migraine Headaches. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/headache/migraine-headaches
  6. About Migraine. Migraine Research Foundation. https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/#:~:text=While%20most%20sufferers%20experience%20attacks,function%20normally%20during%20their%20migraine.

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