Do ER doctors avoid taking your migraine complaints seriously because perhaps they think you might be an opioid addict faking a headache?

Here’s how to get treated promptly and efficiently in the ER for all of your future severe migraine attacks.

For this “how to” on getting ER attention for migraines, I interviewed chronic migraine sufferer Lisa Jacobson, who has experienced daily migraines for the past 25 years.

There are three steps involved in ensuring that you get the ER attention that you seek for your migraine experience.

#1. Letter to the Emergency Room

Don’t wait for your next blazing migraine to strike. “Arrange for your headache doctor to write a letter to the ER,” says Jacobson.

The letter should identify you as your doctor’s migraine patient for (length of time). Jacobson says that it should explain:

“I have told her that when her migraine gets to a specific level, she is to go to the ER immediately. Please give her X, Y and Z drugs/cocktail when she is there.

“Also, the patent will need to go to a quiet place with no lights or sound and apply ice/heat.”

Why do some migraine sufferers meet up with resistance in emergency rooms?

Jacobson explains, “The problem at the ER is that people with migraines are treated like drug seekers since those who abuse opioids often go to hospitals to say that they have a headache or migraine.

“By having a doctor’s legitimate note, this will allow the migraine sufferer to be taken serious and treated well in the ER.”

#2. Have Someone Accompany You

If possible, have someone go with you to the ER who’s both assertive yet knows how to remain calm in the face of resistance, says Jacobson.

“Arrange for that individual to take you or meet you at the ER. That person should advocate for you at the front desk and with the doctor.

“Bringing someone who yells at the doctor never helps, nor is someone who is too calm that they do not advocate for you correctly by being a benevolent pest.”

#3. Bring Your Migraine Emergency Kit

In advance, create your migraine emergency kit so that it’s ready for your next ER visit.

“This is a DIY project migraine sufferers should do on a day that a migraine is not being experienced,” says Jacobson.

“Keep one migraine emergency kit in your car and one at work.

“A migraine emergency kit should include: extra medication, water, sunglasses, peppermint essential oil, ginger candy and a migraine hat.

“The migraine hat is an ice hat that helps get the sufferer vertical and cuts down the pain of the migraine to make it to the ER.”

Lisa Jacobson 

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.