By Wanda –
Lets start at the beginning with the definition of “research”:
1. Noun – the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions
2. Verb – investigate systematically
Remember doing research papers in school? In order to become our own best advocate, we are going to put those skills to use. I promise it won’t be as difficult as term papers or thesis papers were because when you are done reading this, you’ll have MY list of go-to resources along with why I prefer each one and an explanation of how detailed each source is based upon medical terms.
WebMd.com is the easiest site to use and covers many aspects of migraine care and definitions. A simple search of “migraine” offers over 2,800 options from slide shows to videos to assessments on better living through self care. One of the pages I found most helpful was on supplements recommended by and for migraine warriors. Supplements need to be discussed with your doctor before using them to check for interactions with your current medications.
Migraine.com offers blog posts, the newest information on migraine tools, a supportive community, and detailed explanations of symptoms and types. One of my favorite aspects of this site is their inclusive support for the impact on a migraine warrior’s mental health. They also offer “special sections” curated by the editorial team including clinical trials. This is another great site to share with friends and family members.
One of my favorite groups is Migraine Trust, which is a nonprofit group beaded out of the UK. The group focuses on funding research, providing evidence-based information, campaigning for and supporting people affected by migraine. How awesome is that?!? You can read articles on a variety of topics and access some medical professional level pages. Even though this group is based in the UK, you can be sure they are up to date on worldwide information and research. They also have wonderful in-depth descriptions of the more rare types of migraines.
Another good site to use to the Mayo Clinic’s migraine hub. Most people have heard of Mayo and know they are on the cutting edge of treatments for many diseases, but not everyone knows about their migraine research and information. Their migraine home page offers over 20 one click topics. On the bottom of the page you can find links to clinical study information, asking and their wellness programs. You can even look in to having your headache specialist refer you to the Mayo Headache department.
Johns Hopkins, in lovely Baltimore, Maryland, offers a well known headache clinic and a website full of information. The information offered covers everything from basic migraine descriptions, lists of common triggers, to a migraine prevention diet formulated by their Lupus Center. The site also offers access to in depth study material and papers. One of the first papers i read on migraine study findings is still on the Johns Hopkins site as a PDF. Like Mayo, Johns Hopkins offers information on making appointments with their clinic and online support groups.
Finally, the most in depth site I use for research: NIH, Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This is the national think tank for medical studies and information. This is the federal government’s agency for the study of diseases, treatments, medications, and ongoing studies. Some studies last only a few months, some studies last from the time a patient is diagnosed and enters the study until their health precludes them from coming to the campus. I’ve been a participant in both short term and medium term studies, while my mother is part of a long term study.
The idea of research can be daunting, but remember — you NEED to know what is going on in the migraine world in order to have an active part in your treatment plan. By educating yourself and those around you, you become your own best advocate.