Migraine Sufferers and the ER

Written by AnaLise on July 24, 2008 – 6:01 pm -

A decade or two ago if you suffered from migraines there weren’t many things you could do, especially if it was after hours.  Many individuals would take an over the counter pain reliever at the first sign of a headache – especially if they thought it was going to turn into a migraine.  They would pay attention to the symptoms to see if there was an actual set of symptoms leading toward a migraine. 

In combination with or instead of using pain relievers, a person might use ice packs, drink a caffeinated soda, lie in a dark quiet room, and hope for the best.  If things continued getting worse and the migraine intensified, once the individual could not take it any more, they would often end up being taken to the local hospital emergency room by friends or family. 

Once at the emergency room there was usually a long wait because the ER usually takes the most critical cases first, rather than first come, first served, which makes total sense.  Since a migraine is not considered a critical issue (even though it feels critical at the time), a migraine sufferer had to hold on long enough until there was an open bed. 

Once inside the ER, the wait was often another half hour to an hour as your headache intensified.  After the standard blood pressure, pulse, health history, etc., a doctor would come in and take a look at you.  If you looked like you felt pathetic enough you usually got a shot of Demerol or some other pain medication, a couple of prescription pain pills (or a prescription for purchasing some at the pharmacy), and got driven home to go to bed.

Things have changed a lot since then.  Today, there are lots of medications available for migraines, and even the non-prescription medications are better than the old ones.  In addition, doctors often have migraine sufferers keep their migraine medicine on hand so they can take it at the fist sign of a migraine. 

Migraines can be controlled in the privacy of your own home without the drive to and the wait at the ER.  Instead of waiting for hours and trying all sorts of tricks to ease the pain of a full blown migraine, it is entirely possible to deal with the symptoms as the sufferer is first aware of them, avoiding the pain and the expense of treating migraines at the ER and getting migraine sufferers back on track again in minutes rather than hours.

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