Written by: Tyrah Walker | Photography by: Brandon Pham
If you’ve ever had to deal with a severe migraine then you know that they can negatively affect your entire day. And if you experience them on a regular basis, they can affect not only your day but your whole life, if not properly treated. According to MedlinePlus.gov, about 12% of Americans suffer from migraines, and women are 3 times more likely than men to have them. Some causes of migraines include stress, diet, loud noises, anxiety, strong smells and medication.
With these facts in mind, Josh Batson opened The Migraine and Spine Clinic of Valdosta to offer services to patients who are dealing with head, neck, and back pain. Oftentimes, these types of body pains get overlooked in emergency rooms, especially migraines. Having migraines himself — and knowing other family members, including his wife, did as well — led Batson down the path to help those battling the same issues.
“When I met my wife, she was also a sufferer,” he said. “However, over the years, my wife’s condition progressed into a severe case of chronic migraine. Seeing a loved one suffer is tough. I believe God led me down a path to help her and others like her.”
One could say it was destined for Batson to make a name for himself in the nursing profession — he had strong women to look up to. His grandmother was a nurse in the Air Force, and his mom was a nurse also. His wife is currently a nurse as well. Before becoming a practitioner, Batson was in restaurant management, but he decided to challenge himself and find purpose in helping patients.
“I loved what I did, but once I got married and started a family, the long unconventional hours took a toll,” said Batson. “I was looking for something that could give me work [and] life balance, stable income and a fulfilling purpose.”
Batson attended Valdosta State University for both his bachelor’s of science in nursing and master’s of science in nursing. While there, he received a great honor by receiving the Dr. Joan Futch Leadership Award. The award recipient is chosen by the graduating class as the person who’s shown the highest leadership qualities throughout the program. His wife actually won the same award five years prior.
Having experience in restaurant management, Batson already knew how to successfully run a business, so deciding to become an entrepreneur was a no-brainer. Before opening the clinic, Batson had already worked in neurology for six years; three of those years he worked both in the neurology office and at the clinic on the side. He kept hearing similar stories of patients suffering from migraine attacks. And he wanted to help.
“I had all this experience and knowledge on how to run a business from my first career, so blending both careers together was a dream,” said Batson. “I had a lot of help and guidance along the way, and we opened the doors at the Migraine and Spine Clinic of Valdosta in 2017.”
According to Batson, emergency rooms are often put in difficult positions. When there are patients that come in with migraines, they are looking for help. But what do hospitals do when they have a waiting room full of other patients that have life-threatening injuries and need medical attention immediately? This is one of the many reasons Batson decided to open up his own clinic by making his patients a priority and offering long-lasting solutions to their neck, back and head problems. He mentioned how, oftentimes, he’d hear patients say they felt ashamed leaving the ER with little to no relief.
“In most cases, head pain does not lead to death, so [hospitals] have to make tough decisions to not prioritize these kinds of patients,” noted Batson. “I think this process gets misunderstood as a lack of compassion on the side of the ER staff, but I don’t believe that is the case. One solution can be to partner up with clinics like mine that specialize in migraine disorders.”
If you’re constantly experiencing migraines, one goal of the clinic is to reduce the patient’s trips to the ER. The clinic offers urgent care services for active migraine attacks and long term migraine management services. The migraine management services help develop a plan with the patient on how to handle severe migraine attacks and to reduce the frequency and intensity of their migraine attacks. These methods include the latest techniques, such as BOTOX, nerve blocks, SPG blocks, and the newest medications like CGRPs and GEPANTs. The methodology is customized for each patient. Migraine management is by appointment only, but the clinic does offer walk-in urgent care.
Migraines can affect your daily life, and every person has their own unique experiences with them. Just because one medication works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work the same way for you. Batson refers to migraines as being “complicated” because they are more than just a headache — it’s much deeper than that. According to Batson, other symptoms that can occur during a migraine also include fatigue, food cravings and mood swings. He believes that one of the causes of severe migraines is a genetic mutation that can get passed down through generations. “We don’t fully understand it, but we are getting closer,” he said.
Because there is no cure for migraines, Batson also said seeking a medical provider is necessary if you get severe and debilitating migraines. Some common ways to reduce the frequency of migraines is by staying hydrated and getting between 6-9 hours of sleep each night. Figuring out the triggers of your migraines can also help. Keeping a detailed “migraine journal” of all your activities, foods eaten, weather and sleep patterns surrounding your migraine attacks is a good start.
If you are experiencing migraines and feel as though you’re the only person, fear not. It is quite common, and there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Batson wants his patients to feel welcomed, valued and heard.
“Sometimes patients need to be prayed over in the exam room,” said Batson. “Sometimes they need procedures and medication, and sometimes they just need to be heard and know they are not crazy and alone!”
Since Batson has migraines himself from time to time, he knows firsthand how they feel. He wants to feel connected to his patients.
“It is important to find a provider that is familiar with migraines,” concluded Batson. “Migraine treatment has been evolving rapidly over the last couple of years. Staying on top of the latest medications and therapies is key. Some providers are still stuck treating migraines with strategies developed 10-20 years ago. While some of their methods work, they tend to have more side effects than newer ones.”
For more information on The Migraine and Spine Clinic of Valdosta, you can visit their website, at http://www.themigraineandspineclinic.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 229-333-9838.