Migraines are ruining my life! – Have you ever heard this before and wondered how migraines can ruin a person’s life, especially if they are just like headaches that come and go?
Do you or someone you know currently experiencing migraines that have got you or that person in a serious state of despair because the migraines are interfering seriously with your day-to-day activities and ruining your life?
If yes, don’t worry because we have got you covered and we will clarify your doubt and answer all the questions you might have concerning this topic – “Migraines are ruining my life”.
This article shows some reviews from past and present Migraine sufferers, how the migraines affected them, and how they coped with it to become hale and hearty again.
My article covers how migraines can ruin your life, and what to do to recover from any damages migraines caused.
Migraines – What are they?
A migraine is a headache of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine headaches are sometimes preceded by warning symptoms. Triggers include hormonal changes, certain food, and drink, stress, and exercise.
Migraine headaches can cause throbbing in one particular area that can vary in intensity. Nausea and sensitivity to light and sound are also common symptoms.
Migraines Are Ruining My Life! – How Can Headaches Ruin Someone’s Life?
A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on 1 side of the head. Many people also have symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men.
But sometimes Migraines can be so disturbing that you cannot even do a single thing because of the severity of the pounding headache your brain is experiencing.
If there’s one thing people living with migraine want you to know, it’s that migraine attacks are anything but just a bad headache. This is a neurological condition that can have far-reaching consequences across practically all areas of our lives.
Migraine affects roughly one in six adults in the U.S., according to a 2018 study in the journal Headache. In addition to the stereotypical head pain (which actually isn’t always present, by the way), migraine symptoms can manifest as nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to noise and light, vision changes, and so much more.
There’s a lot that still isn’t understood about migraine, but we do know that attacks are often triggered by hormonal fluctuations, alcohol, caffeine, certain foods, stress, and inconsistent sleep—among other things. That said, most people with migraine will attest that sometimes an attack will seemingly come out of nowhere—with no apparent trigger to blame.
Hmm…yeah. Seriously, right? Migraines can really turn your life around – in the worst way possible. I will be dropping some experiences people had with migraines which will show how a headache can put you in a bad place and to further attest to this statement: ‘Migraines are ruining my life’.
Migraines Were Destroying My Life By Margarita Gokun Silver:
It usually begins with a drowsy fog of fatigue that makes me feel as if I haven’t slept in days. My eyelids take on the weight of an oil tanker, and a few minutes later the pain arrives. It first settled along either my left or right eyebrow, hovers there until it runs out of space, then begins to spread to the other eyebrow. After that, it invades both temples and finally reaches the top of my head, then ebbs out across my scalp.
The word “migraine” took root in my vocabulary only after I turned 40.
My usual headaches stopped responding to over-the-counter painkillers and instead began worsening, with lights and sounds. The first time a migraine hit, I barely made it from my car to the bathroom, where I promptly threw up my entire lunch before spending the next seven hours in bed, in a fetal position and unable to open my eyes.
My normal headache seemed to have matured into a migraine the way a baby crocodile grows into a human-snatching beast. From that day on I no longer had regular headaches. I now suffered from migraines.
Migraines affect more than 29 million Americans and are more common among women than men. According to the Office of Women’s Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, most sufferers are between the ages of 15 and 55, have a family history of migraines or disabling headaches, and often have such symptoms as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
I discovered all that when, as soon as I recovered from my seven-hour ordeal, I did what most modern Americans would do in my situation: I Googled my symptoms. Every site I clicked on pointed to the migraine diagnosis, although there were other, much scarier propositions. Just in case, my doctor ordered an MRI scan of my head when I showed up in her office, printouts from WebMD in hand.
When the results came back showing no abnormalities, she did what a Western-trained physician knows how to do best: She phoned in a prescription for a new pain-relief pill for migraines. It was blue, came in its own plastic pillbox and set my insurance company back about $900 for eight tablets. Every time I took one, I thought of things I would much rather spend that money on. A massage, a pair of shoes, a night in a hotel at some exotic and exciting location.
None of those things could do what the new medication did, though, which is take away the blinding pit of quicksand that my head turned into during migraines. But there was one problem: The pill made me sick. When I took it — either with a meal or with the entire contents of my refrigerator — at the onset of a migraine, I doubled over with stomach pain and nausea so severe that I thought my eating days were over.
Exhausted by these side effects, I turned again to the Internet. Spending time on the computer turned out to be one of my migraine triggers, so my searching was sporadic. But during one hasty session I came upon Botox injections as a possible treatment, and I was intrigued.
Botox, a neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals to muscles, temporarily paralyzing them, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for chronic migraines in October 2010 — two months after my migraines began. According to studies financed by Botox’s manufacturer, Allergan, patients treated with the drug experienced a decrease in the frequency of migraines. (Patients treated with a placebo also improved, though not as much.) I booked an appointment with a neurologist. A big proponent of efficacy, I figured maybe it would fix some of my wrinkles, too.
After spending two minutes speaking to me, five minutes typing something into the computer and 10 minutes consulting with his secretary on whether my insurance would cover Botox, my new neurologist scheduled me for the procedure. I returned on the assigned day, thinking that injections would be limited to my face and would not exceed two, at worst three, in number. Then the nurse brought in the vials: at least 30 of them. When I left the office about an hour later, I had Botox settling into not only my forehead but also my neck and the entire width of my shoulders.
The Botox did help my wrinkles — it lifted my eyebrows and corrected the asymmetry brought upon by Bell’s palsy 20 years earlier — but it seemed to do nothing for my migraines. They now developed at least once a week, and because I didn’t want to subject my body to the torture of the blue pill, I spent more and more time in bed. I stopped drinking wine because it seemed to trigger the migraines. I no longer went to the beach despite living a five-minute drive away because too much sun also brought them on.
The only activities that seemed to provide respite even if the migraine already took hold were yoga and painting. The hour I spent in yoga class was completely migraine-free. The moment we said “Namaste” at the end, though, my scalp would experience a familiar pang of pain, and I would go home struggling to keep my eyelids open. Painting produced the same effect. Yet I couldn’t just go through my days painting and perfecting asanas. I had a business to run, a family to take care of and an occasional meal to enjoy in a restaurant that served wine.
The yoga and painting phenomenon didn’t make any impression on my doctors, but mentioning it in my yoga class produced a breakthrough. Two, in fact. One came from a Canadian yoga buddy in the form of my first bottle of acetaminophen with codeine, available over-the-counter in her country and in Europe while being prescription-only in the United States. She told me a friend regularly took this combination for migraines and it seemed to help. The second breakthrough was an acupuncture recommendation from another yoga student.
The Canadian painkillers provided a respite, but the idea of needing to pop them twice a week forever made me want to reach inside and hug my liver. I decided to try acupuncture.
In recent years, several studies have concluded that acupuncture could be an efficient — and fairly side-effects-free — method of reducing both the occurrence and the severity of migraines.
At my first appointment with an acupuncturist, she spent 45 minutes asking me questions before any needles came out.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “and don’t tense. Tensing usually makes the pain worse. Just breathe.”
She told me when to inhale and when to exhale for each needle, and she stuck them into my hands, my feet and my forehead. All of them felt like a mosquito bite when they pierced the skin, but once they were in I no longer knew they were there.
“Relax,” she said after she put in the last needle and told me to lie there for 30 minutes. “Either empty your mind or think only good thoughts.”
A month into my treatment, after eight sessions, I noticed that my migraines had begun to slow down in frequency and weaken in intensity. At the end of two months, I felt strong enough to scale my appointments down to once a week. Five months after I started acupuncture, I felt essentially cured. I rarely got the drowsy fog of fatigue — and if I did, it almost always went away on its own. I could work on my computer and spend time on the beach, and I was able to drink wine again.
It has now been five years since I discovered acupuncture. I still occasionally get migraines, and if they seem to be amping up, I’ll use acupuncture, even a couple of times a week. But there have been months when I don’t need it at all.
Stress seems to be a big contributing factor, and with acupuncture I know that in addition to healing my body with needles, I also get a whole half-hour when I only think of good things.
How My Chronic Migraines Ruined My Life By Sweetmalis
I got my first migraine at the early age of 12. I can remember it so vividly because I thought I would die from the pain. I was at a softball game in which I was on the team and I was in left field. I don't remember having any aura, or other signs that it was about to happen. Instead I remember just one minute being fine and the next minute having to lay down right there on the field in the middle of the game. I started to roll on the ground grabbing my head and sobbing so hard everyone started running to me not knowing what had happened. My mother was there in the stands and she came running so fast, she got there before anyone else. She was a registered nurse and one of the best and since migraines run all throughout my family, mainly on her side, she knew right away that was what I was having. My coach had to carry me to our car because I couldn't open my eyes or even walk... I just buried my head into his chest til we got to our car. My mom took me right to the emergency room and I was still sobbing the whole way there while I kept screaming "when is this going to stop... I feel like I'm dying".
They got me in right away because it was not sure if it was a migraine or something worse. They did a CT scan and a MRI, drew blood and had a neurologist come down to do a more through exam. They did find what they could only describe as a white-ish "spot" on the left side of my head close to behind that eye. They gave me fluids and some pain medication and sent me home to sleep it off and an appointment to see another neurologist in the next few days. At my age they were very cautious in giving me certain kinds of medications so I wasn't getting much relief on that front, instead they suggested a "pain thearpist" to help me work through my attacks and the awful pain that came with them. I also started getting extremely nauseous and started vomiting a lot and getting visual auras before an attack.
So finally they gave me the diagnosis of chronic migraines and I was put on a small amount or regimen of medications. After that I remember having periods of getting about 4 migraines a month or 4 migraines a week. As I got older I was able to be prescibed stronger preventative and abortive medicine and other treatments. And once again I would have some improvement for a little bit of time but they would always come back with a vengeance.
Fast forward to my 20's and this was when I started trying many other things besides medication because after all those years of being on so many different meds. My organs were starting to show some damage especially my liver and if it continued I would end up on dyalisis. Here's a run down of the treatments I did: I had an occipital (my spelling is horrible) stimulator which was surgically "implanted" in my scalp and had wires sticking out my head which I plugged into a little box to send electric "currents" thru my brain, I endured 5 months of weekly Botox injections in where I had 14 injections total each visit 7 on each side of my face starting at my forehead and down to my chin area and what made it even more painful than the injections alone was that my doctor forbade me to take any of my abortive and even preventative medication to see if the botox was working and it had to be the 5 months of the injections and another month after that again to see any results,(at this point my medications consisted of Depakote 1500mg twice daily, and Imitrex injections which hurt like hell and fioricet and phenergen for nausea and vomiting), after Botox I went for a round of trigger point injections mainly in my neck and shoulder areas because my neurologist noticed my neck muscles were always extremely tense and these shots might help to relax them and therefore reduce my migraines. I did physical theary also for my neck for strengthing and loosening the neck muscles, I went to a chiropracter, accupuncuture, took supplements like feverfew, vitamin B-2, magnesium,etc...and more medication with lovely side effects like weight gain, taccardia, GI issues mainly vomiting which at one point I lost 40 pounds in the matter of 4 months, and due to the pain and dissappointment that nothing was helping I became extremely depressed and ended up on anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
Finally as a last ditch effort I was referred to Jefferson Migraine Center in Philadelphia,PA. I live in Connecticut and because my husband had to stay home with our 3 year old daughter, I made this trip all by myself. Originally I was told I was going there for an inital evaluation exam that would last 6 hours or so and then go home and make plans for treatment then. But after the 6 hours they decided right then that I needed to be admitted in-patient for at least 6 weeks or so.
All I had packed was one change of clothes and one pair of pajamas because I made a reservation for a hotel right near the hospital to stay the one night since the train ride was 4 hours, the appt. 6 hours and there was no way I could handle doing it in one day. But I was in shock that here I am alone in a different state and being told I have to drop everything and be admitted right then and there. I was terrified they had maybe found something like a tumor with all the tests they did that day to me and also being so far away from my family. When I called my husband to tell him the news he too was shocked and worried and also was scrambling around trying to figure out how he was going to be able to work and take care of our child by himself for the next 6 weeks or so. He also had to make the trip because he wanted to speak to the doctors, bring me more clothes and just tolietries, magazines, anything to make being there alone a little less horrible. After all the paperwork was done they brought me up to my room which was just a single hospital room and though I was allowed to stay in my own clothes I mainly stayed in pajamas cause I pretty much spent all my time in bed. The reason for that was they told me they were going to try a new treatment that would require the medications to go in through an I.V. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The medications were D.H.E. and lidocaine. And because they stopped all my other meds. they actually gave me methadone the first day I was there and then discontinued it because the fioricet I was taking also had codeine in it, so they didn't want me to go through withdrawel but I ended up still having withdrawels from the codeine, the sleeping pills, anti-depressants, and the anti-anxiety medication I started a year or so before that since I was getting panic attacks when a migraine attack would last up to 5 days or longer. It was very painful, uncomfortable, and very scary.
There was nothing to do there besides lay in bed and watch TV or read. The only time any patients got out of their beds and were able to socialize or whatever was a once a week meeting/group thearpy session that lasted less than an hour. I attended the first one because I was going stir crazy in my room but there were 15 patients and I had about 3 minutes to speak and got nothing out of it. Unfortunetly because of the distance my husband could only visit every other week and any phone calls I made couldn't be too long because you were charged seperately for your phone bill. It was also during Christmas time and since my daughter was only 3 and I never really got the chance to say a real good-bye before I left in the first place I begged and begged my doctor to let me go home for the weekend of Christmas, about 4 days, and then I would come back for the remainder of the treatment. He did allow it but informed me that they wanted me to stay 2 more weeks regardless of me going home because I wasn't showing much improvement and I was told when I signed the papers to be admitted that it was for at least 6 weeks but could be up to 8 weeks. Once he told me that I was seriously thinking about never going back but I knew I had to give it all I could since it was one of the last things left. In order to keep the medication still going in everyday, the DHE and lidocaine, I had to have a tube implanted in my chest with a tube sticking out and lets just say they gave me 1mg of ativan and then went to slicing me open...I almost hit one of the nurses that was holding me down cause it was God awful pain... they sent me home with vials of both medications and big syringes and so three times a day at home I had to inject myself with the meds.
I'm grateful my daughter was so young and didn't really see much, I always did the injections in private and hid the tube whenever she was there. It scared me looking at this tube coming out my chest so I couldn't imagine a small child seeing this. And after all that NO improvement. If it wasn't for my daughter and even now I would have thrown the towel in a long time ago. I just can't do that to her, abandon her like that. But there is a part of me that does wish a lot of the time that after all the damage my organs have sustained and all the medications I take now since I was finally diagnosed as bi-polar II, I'm on birth-control pills and the ones where you only get your period four times a year but because I do get severe menstral migraines my OB/GYN allows me to skip the week where I'm supposed to have a period and so I don't get a period ever, I take 400mg of lamictal which is mainly for the bi-polar II but I was prescibed that at one time as a preventative for migraines, I have to take 2.5mg of ativan spaced out through the day, I take 12.5mg of Ambien to get any sleep, if the Ambien doesn't work I also have Dalmane which can slow your heart rate so low it can be deadly, I'm still taking the Imitex injections around 4 shots a week (I tried Imitrex in the pill form and the nasal form but only the injection works and they are very painful), I still take the fioricet with codeine around 3 days a week, and I have Phenergen 25mg tablets when I am vomiting during a migraine attack or because of my GI issues. Next week if my lamictal levels are where my psychiatrist wants them to be than she will add on top of everything else an anti-depressant. I once had one treatment of ECT but because it caused a severe migraine I never tried again but if this depression doesn't start to get better than I will try ECT again and deal with the side effects whatever they may be.
I know this story is extremely long and goes into too much little non-important details of crap but in closing to just say how badly my migraines have made my life...I had to quit my job, a job I loved and one that I could have moved up the ladder as a bank manager running my own branch of the bank, and I am on disability, and to get approved by the government to pay someone disability for migraines is extremely difficult but this is how severe they are in my life. I'm 38 years old and if things ever improved I still have a good 30-35 years to go back to work so when I am older I will have some kind of retirement money, as of now I collect barely enough to ever get by myself, if it wasn't for the fact that my husband is a great supporter for our family, I don't know where I would be. I just feel so defeated by this affliction and because there are no tests that can show the migraine, and from just looking at someone even during a horrible attack, there are no outward "signs" for a person that never had a migraine to really know what it feels like. I have actually had some mainly ER doctors treat me like I'm exagerating how bad it is, and that I need to learn to just deal with the pain...
That is why I am here on this website because its so comforting that there are people and doctors that beleive and know how debilitating migraines are and how they literally rob you of any kind of normal and happy life. I am going back to Jefferson Migraine Center in PA in September because the last two neurologists I have seen in the last 4 years or so have done little or nothing to help at all and when I called Jefferson they told me they have some new treatments and that its definetely worth it for me to come back. So I'm just praying everyday til my appt. that something will work and I'm not looking for a miracle, meaning I don't expect to walk out of there "cured" and never have a migraine again. But even if they can get them down to 2 migraines a month even, I could deal with that... If there are any doctors that read these stories, I don't know if you respond to any, but if you do I would so appreciate any advice or thoughts about what I can do before all hope is gone and I give up... thank-you Malissa O.
Migraines Are Ruining Lives and Costing People their Jobs but Doctors Ignore It - https://www.painaustralia.org.au
Just five medical students and only 40 others attended the conference held in August at Melbourne University, even though it featured one of the world’s top migraine doctors Prof Peter Goadsby from Kings College London.
“I teach 200 students at Australia’s number one university and at the symposium we had five to six medical students and only 50 attendees,” said neurologist Professor Tissa Wijeratne, who works at Western Hospital Melbourne.
Professor Wijeratne also chairs the World Federation of Neurology Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee so he know a thing or to about the leading cause of disability in Australia – migraine.
He had hoped to inspire others to specialise in migraine and headache medicine.
Migraine and Headache Australia chief Trevor Thompson said doctors only received 10 to 15 hours training on migraine in their medical degree, and it was misdiagnosed and under treated.
Pain Australia CEO Carol Bennett said a recent survey found pain medicine had the lowest uptake among GPs, adding it was the area of medicine that least interested them because it was complex and the remuneration was low.
Currently, five million Australians suffer from migraines – more people than have asthma or diabetes combined.
A recent Deloitte report found it costs the health system $14.3 billion a year and the economy another $16 billion in lost working hours but it’s being ignored by doctors and medical researchers with just $1.4 million spent on research.
It is so poorly managed one in 10 patients go on to develop medication-overuse headaches.
Their condition becomes chronic and they suffer migraine more than 15 days per month.
Many patients are too embarrassed to speak about their pain because the severity of the condition is not understood and they fear being dismissed and told to take a paracetamol.
The World Health Organisation has ranked migraine as the second largest cause of disability in the world in 2016.
To make matters worse, migraine sufferers in Australia are being denied access to subsidies for breakthrough new CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) drugs that can prevent migraines. These cost $800 a month and are unaffordable without a subsidy.
“These are really exciting new treatments which most studies accept can result in a 50 per cent reduction in headache days per month,” said neurologist Susan Tomlinson from St Vincent’s Clinic in Sydney.
Last month pharmaceutical company Novartis withdrew its bid for a subsidy for its breakthrough CGRP drug Aimovig because it would have had to share a funding cap with Botox which is already oversubscribed.
This does not augur well for Teva Pharma Australia which earlier this month registered its CGRP inhibitor drug Anjovy or for the medicine Emgality which has been approved for subsidy.
Migraine and Headache Australia spokesman Carl Cincinatto said the organisation was asking the federal government for money in next year’s budget to set up a national consumer focused website to provide trustworthy information on managing migraines.
Headache Australia also want funding for a headache centre of excellence, money to research the epidemiology of migraine and flexible work hours and other reforms for migraine sufferers so they don’t quit their jobs.
Migraine is more than just a headache. Patients may experience nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, have speech problems and cognition issues for up to 72 hours, and afterwards can feel tired, weak and cognitively impaired for days.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone said in the past there were not a lot of management options for people with migraine and the perception that doctors ignored the condition may reflect that.
It was one of those health conditions where the financial resources did not match the frequency or the prevalence of the condition and management would be helped if the government funded GPs to spend more time with their patients who suffered this type of chronic disease, he said.
‘I COULDN’T EVEN BABYSIT MY NIECE’
Sophie Cher is in the prime of her working life but had to give up her job as a university administrator 18 months ago because she suffers devastating migraines six days per week.
The headaches make the 43-year-old sensitive to light and noise. She has difficulty speaking, suffers vertigo, nausea and sensory sensitivity.
“I started with three migraines a week and ended with six migraines a week because doctors didn’t warn me the drugs could end up causing the headaches,” she said.
Ms Cher has tried various pain medications, epilepsy medication, mouth splints, chiropractic treatment, ophthalmology treatment, physiotherapy, acupuncture, diet changes, pain clinics, a Cephaly stimulator, a TENS machine and even kinesiology and “nothing works”, she said.
“All of my spare money has gone on my health and you end up losing hope and it has a massive impact on your psychology and your emotions and you can’t plan anything with anybody, I couldn’t even babysit my niece.”
When she first looked for a headache specialist in Sydney there were only two and she is hopeful the new CGRP medications will be subsidised in case they reduce the number of headache days she has each week.
‘IT WAS LIKE BEING HIT WITH A FORCE FIELD’
Suzanne Vale had to quit her job as a senior associate in a law firm as the migraines she suffered for over 10 years got worse and worse.
“I would go down heavy and lose days at a time. I’d be too confused to read, had tinnitus, lethargy, nausea. It was like being hit with a force field,” she said.
Sometimes the headaches lasted three days, one lasted an entire week and she said she felt undermined in her workplace, which was not sympathetic and demanded she get medical certificates for each episode.
A strong person who always turned up to work and often pushed through to midnight to get the job done Ms Vale said she was made to feel “like a hypochondriac”.
Like many sufferers she stopped telling her friends and family when she had migraines because she was embarrassed by her condition.
She now runs her own business and can work flexibly around her migraine attacks.
The 49-year-old said she was “astounded” so few medical students or doctors attended the recent migraine symposium given the toll it had on sufferers.
“You get someone like me who is well educated, in the prime of their life wanting to work and who leaves the workplace because it’s not worth the pain and the pressure,” she said.
“This condition needs to be on the political agenda and matter in the same way as cancer and diabetes and there have to be workplace awareness campaigns and a lot more money for treatment.”
‘YOU THINK IF DEATH WAS AN OPTION I WOULD CHOOSE IT’
Georgia Spencer’s migraines started when she was just 13 years old, and they became a recurring issue from the age of 17.
“A couple of years ago, if I was not on daily medication, I would have a migraine every two to three days,” the 27-year-old hotel sales executive said.
“It gets to the point where you are lying in bed feeling as if your head is in a vice, and you can’t see, you’re throwing up for 12 hours and you think if death was an option I would choose it at this moment. That’s my experience of it.”
Anti-depressants and anti-epileptic drugs were prescribed to prevent the illness but they caused unbearable side effects then the government took her pain medication, codeine, off the shelves to manage opioid deaths.
Now she uses triptan drugs to manage attacks but they cause rebound headaches that in one instance lasted for three weeks.
“I’m trapped in a vicious cycle and there is no way out,” she said.
New CGR medications are a ray of hope but without a subsidy there is no way she can afford the $800 a month the treatments cost.
“I’ve tried chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, physiotherapy, the Cephaly device and nothing really works and you are resigned to the fact you are going to suffer every three to four days,” she said.
“It’s one of those illnesses where unless you’ve experienced it people just tell you to take a Panadol or have a drink of water and because you are not bleeding and have no outward symptoms. People are so uneducated about it.”
Yikes! Going through all these stories, you can almost feel what these people are going through. Migraines can cause a whole lot of damage, cut you off from friends and family, and make you lose your job, reputation, and even your life.
“Migraine affects people across the continuum of our social interactions, whether it be business, school, social or family lives,” says Noah Rosen, M.D, director of Northwell Headache Center.
Migraines can make you miss parties, call in sick to work, and have weeks when you truly believed the pain might never stop—and only a few of the “lucky ones” can mostly function at full capacity while having migraines and not for long though.
Watch the video below to see more complications of migraines:
Migraines Are Ruining My Life! – Ways Migraines Can Do This
Migraine can impact your presence, productivity, and even earning potential at work.
Perhaps you’ve had a coworker who mysteriously disappears from time to time because of a migraine. After all, have you ever tried to work through debilitating pain, blurred vision, and unrelenting nausea?
As you might imagine, some of the most common migraine symptoms can make it almost impossible to be present at work during an attack. “Migraine can affect one's business life in many ways,” says Dr. Rosen.
For some people, their workplace can even be inherently triggering—whether they’re in a stressful office environment or a noisy, chaotic bar. “It is hard to be healthy in an unhealthy environment and, unfortunately, work environments often provide many challenges concerning proper air circulation, [eating] regular meals and hydrating, temperature control, and exposure to stress,” says Dr. Rosen.
People with migraine are often unable to work or function normally during an attack, meaning that even those who are able to remain physically present may be absent in other ways. Dr. Rosen points out that “it’s easy to measure absenteeism—when one isn’t there—but much harder to measure presenteeism—when one is there but not really performing as they should.”
Felicia, a social media director in New York City, says that migraine absolutely affects her professionally. “I have to pause life completely for those 24 to 36 hours,” she says. “Often I have to take a sick day so I can sleep [it] off and take care of my body. I've missed or had to reschedule interviews and important events, which when I was a one-woman social media team, meant we were losing out on content and coverage.”1https://migraine.com/stories/how-my-chronic-migraines-ruined-my-life
In certain industries, a migraine attack can mean missing out on income. “I have had to skip work frequently because of my migraines,” says Rose, who works in the hospitality industry in Boston. “Because of my industry, it’s very hard to find coverage, and up until very recently we didn’t even have paid sick days...if I have a migraine and am scheduled for a shift that I have to miss, I am losing money.”
The following are 3 ways can ruin your life:
Migraine Also Impacts Your Personal Life—From Friendships to Romantic Relationships
It’s not uncommon to hear someone with migraine say that they’ve had to miss out on things because of their illness. The unpredictability and all-encompassing nature of a migraine attack mean that we sometimes end up disappointing not just ourselves, but also the people close to us.
Migraine “definitely [has] an impact on my personal relationships,” says Rebecca, a consultant in Washington, D.C. “I feel like I’m unreliable when I have to miss yet another event because of a migraine, and I worry that people feel like I’m just making an excuse about why I can’t show up.”
Although most people I spoke to stressed how supportive their friends and family have been, not everyone is prepared to stick by you in both sickness and in health. “I lost many a boyfriend because they didn't want to take care of me like that and that often,” says Kristine, a poet and adjunct professor in Queens. According to Dr. Rosen, “romantic relations may be threatened when people don't know how to respond when someone needs hours, or even days, to themselves.”
“I know firsthand what it feels like to watch something completely out of your control negatively affect a relationship. An ex-boyfriend once said that he was afraid to marry me because migraine made me seem “sickly,” and he didn’t want to be saddled with my medical bills. We didn’t date for much longer after that,” says Sophie.
Parenting With Migraine Can Feel Like an Impossible Feat—Particularly For Single Parents
Tami, a working mom of two in Ohio, says that “migraines make it difficult to parent the way I would like to. I often find myself irritated more quickly due to my pain levels and not thoroughly enjoying the little things as my children get older.”
Hanna, a lawyer and mother of two in New York City, echoes Tami’s sentiment. “I always feel terrible having to take myself away from my kids,” she says. “My husband is supportive and wants me to rest and feel better when I get one, but because we have young kids, my being out of commission puts a big extra burden on him, and that's really difficult.”
For single parents with no one there to handle parental responsibilities during an attack, parenting can become a painful juggling act. “It makes it so hard when I have to lie in a dark room with an eye mask and ear plugs for a few hours and can't go do things,” says Georgia, a clinical psychologist and single mom to a six-year-old daughter. “I try my best and explain I'm not feeling well, but I feel guilty for not being present and [hate that] it makes her worry about me.”
Migraine can even play a role in deciding whether or not to have children in the first place. “This is something I’ve worried about a lot as I approach the age where I’d like to consider having children,” says Marissa in Boston. “I have fears that if I’m suffering from a bad migraine, I wouldn’t be able to be a good parent.” Couple that with the trepidation of passing migraine along to future generations, and the decision can feel heavy. After all, research suggests that migraine may run in families.
These Compounding Stressors Can Take a Major Mental Health Toll on Those With Migraine
It’s not uncommon for people with migraine to also live with mental health conditions. In fact, a 2005 paper in Current Psychiatry Reports notes an association between migraine and diagnoses of depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
“Having any sort of chronic pain like this fucks with your mental health,” says Caitlyn, a florist in Long Beach, California. “I feel more depressed, anxious, and overall unwell.” Caitlyn tells SELF she’s also dealt with suicidal ideation as a result.
In addition to the burden of physical symptoms, navigating care for a chronic illness can feel like a full-time job. “It is exhausting going to doctors and specialists who tell you they don’t know why you have [migraine],” says Meaghan in Tacoma, Washington. Like many, she feels “unseen and unheard” living with an invisible illness.
Not feeling understood is a common theme among those with migraine. “I always feel like I have to prove my pain during migraines, or just suck it up and move along,” says Felicia.
Anyone with migraine knows how impossible it can feel to communicate what an attack feels like to someone lucky enough to have never experienced one. “Absolutely no one understands the severity of a migraine unless they experience one themselves, so there is a small part of me that wonders if people around me think I'm being dramatic,” says Caitlyn. After all, many of us with migraine have encountered a college professor unwilling to excuse a sudden absence or a boss annoyed at the supposed “convenient” timing of a headache, as if there’s ever a “good time” to be hit with a migraine attack.
In addition to questions about the veracity of an attack, many well-meaning friends and loved ones offer advice without realizing just how different a migraine attack is from a regular headache.
“I would love for people who don’t get them to understand that peppermint oil, putting your feet in Epsom salts, and trying cream of tartar does not work,” says Holli, a graduate student and full-time mom in North Carolina. “We have a legitimate, neurological disease. The treatment is not going to be found on Pinterest!”
I will admit that part of me crumbles every time my migraine comes up and someone asks if I’m drinking enough water. As if drinking more water could fix what sinus surgery, elimination diets, 36 monthly injections, and countless prescription medications over a span of eight years still haven’t.
The Winding Road to Migraine Treatment
“The process of getting an accurate migraine diagnosis was one of the most confusing, fearful, and difficult periods of my life,” Natalie Sayre tells SELF. Sayre, 28, lived with chronic migraine for years before getting a diagnosis.
After the onset of her first migraine when she was 19, Sayre’s migraine attacks worsened, but she had a pretty limited understanding of the scope and intensity of the condition.2https://www.painaustralia.org.au/media/news/migraines-are-ruining-lives-and-costing-people-their-jobs-but-doctors-ignore-it At the time, she focused on what she describes as Band-Aid-type solutions, like taking over-the-counter and prescription migraine medications whenever a migraine attack struck in hopes of lessening or shortening the episode.
“It wasn’t until I’d pushed myself to the brink of daily, debilitating pain and was forced into medical leave from my first full-time position that I took migraine disease seriously,” she says.
At 22, she was diagnosed with chronic migraine by a neurologist at the UCSF Headache Center, and she has now spent the past several years looking for ways to manage, live with, and reduce the burden of migraine. Sayre tells SELF that she experiences some form of head pain nearly every day.
Sayre is far from alone in her experience—migraine commonly goes undiagnosed and untreated. Noah Rosen, M.D., a neurologist, and director of Northwell Health’s Headache Center, tells SELF that only about half of people with migraine ever get a diagnosis—a harrowing stat confirmed in a study in The Journal of Head and Face Pain.
When it comes to chronic migraine, where headaches are present more than 15 days each month, “we're probably successful in diagnosing that maybe even less than a quarter of the time,” Dr. Rosen estimates.
Migraine diagnosis is often a long and frustrating process.
Candace Helton, 32, saw three doctors over a period of six years before getting a migraine diagnosis. She found it hard to explain her headaches to doctors because her symptoms and headaches were inconsistent.
“Sometimes I experience them once or twice a month, sometimes not at all,” she says. “The pain was inconsistent as well. Sometimes it's just this dull headache that I can brush off, and sometimes it's so intense that I can't function properly. But as years went by, I realized that these headaches were happening more and more often.”
The process of getting a migraine diagnosis was disheartening, Helton says. “I often got frustrated because I thought a headache was supposed to be a very easy thing to diagnose, and I got tired of trying and trying different medications that didn't work,” she tells SELF. “There were days when I just didn't want to get out of bed, so I slept a lot, and sometimes I would just wake up with a throbbing headache.”
Considering that migraine affects nearly 15% of the population, you’d expect that diagnosis wouldn’t be as challenging as it is. So what, exactly, is getting in the way of diagnosis? Neurologists say there are a few factors at play.
For starters, there is no single diagnostic test for migraine. Instead, migraine is diagnosed through a combination of a person’s history, their symptoms, a thorough physical examination, and by ruling out other causes of headaches, Huma Sheikh, M.D., a neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at Mount Sinai-Icahn School of Medicine, tells SELF. Physicians commonly refer to the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) as a diagnostic tool, which is fairly straightforward.
What makes diagnosis tricky is that there are multiple conditions that share some of the symptoms of migraine. Because of that, diagnosing migraine can be a long process of elimination marked by a series of negative results on other tests—such as blood tests and MRIs. “That can be extremely frustrating for some people,” Dr. Rosen says.
Another complicating factor in migraine diagnosis is a person’s ability to access specialized care. Many people go to their primary care provider with migraine-related concerns, but these practitioners often do not have extensive training in migraine diagnosis or treatment.
“If a patient does speak to their primary physician or ob-gyn about their headaches, these initial point-of-contact physicians may not realize that the headaches do need to be treated as a medical condition,” Dr. Sheikh says. “They may not know the right questions to ask to determine if the headaches are a migraine or other primary headache syndrome.”
Seeing a specialist isn’t always an option either, given that there are so few of them around. According to Dr. Rosen, the number of headache specialists in the United States is far fewer than it should be, given how many people experience migraine. These specialists include neurologists and other physicians, such as internists and family physicians, who have taken the Headache Certification Exam through the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties. Among them, there isn’t a ton of racial or ethnic diversity, adding an additional barrier to care, Dr. Rosen says. People often relate in a special way to people who are like them and understand those core facets of their identities, Dr. Rosen explains.
Finally, migraine is an often-mysterious condition surrounded by myths and misconceptions. As a result, many people don’t know much about migraine, from common symptoms to the vast number of ways it can present. Often, people with migraines try to self-treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medications, caffeine, or lying down in a dark room, rather than seeing a physician, or continuing to try to get a diagnosis if early attempts were not successful.
Finding the right migraine treatment often involves trial and error.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Treating migraine can be a huge challenge, and unfortunately, there is no cure. Not only will the right treatment vary from person to person, but it can even differ within an individual from one migraine to the next.
“Sometimes the migraine sufferer needs a toolbox of different ways to address different conditions because a migraine can be mild, it can be severe, and you need to treat that differently,” Dr. Rosen says. “You can't treat it the same each time.”
The same is true when it comes to DIY approaches. While deep breathing may help alleviate a mild migraine, Dr. Rosen says that the same tactic may just amplify the frustration when faced with a severe migraine.
These days, there’s a glimmer of hope as far as migraine treatment is concerned. Dr. Rosen says we’re amid a “golden age of headache,” where there are more treatment options available than ever before. “But that provides other challenges as well,” he says. “Even though we have more tools and better tools, it's still a challenge to figure out which is the right one for the right person.”
Migraine treatments range from acute medications to preventive ones as well as non-drug therapies. When determining a treatment plan, physicians consider factors like age, medication side effects, how the migraine affects the person, and other health conditions. For example, if migraines tend to make you nauseous or throw up, a physician probably won’t suggest taking a pill at their onset.
“A lot of it depends on open discussion with the patients and what they're looking for,” Dr. Rosen says. “But most successful treatments are a combination strategy involving trigger identification, behavioral changes like improving hydration and their sleep habits, as well as pharmacologic agents.”3https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/migraines-disrupt-life
Following a vestibular migraine diagnosis, Evey Rosenbloom, 38, tried various medications and treatments for a year. Looking to stop the intense dizziness she experienced, she met with nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists, and even experimented with breathing techniques.
She found a bit of relief, but the dizziness still made her feel awful. “It was terrible. The migraines would still hit me suddenly, with no warning, so I stopped driving, and I was so dizzy and off balance, I was leaning on walls for support.”
She eventually found relief when she began to actively focus on stress- and anxiety-reduction tactics, including practicing mindfulness; saying positive affirmations; exercising; dancing with her kids; and prioritizing fresh air, nutrition, and sleep. “Within about two weeks of making these changes, I burst back to life,” she says.
For many, identifying and managing migraine triggers—like stress and poor sleep—is an important aspect of migraine management, Dr. Sheikh says. That said, migraine triggers can also be unavoidable—like the weather or hormonal fluctuations. “However, for those who know their triggers are controllable—like certain foods—avoiding them can be helpful in preventing migraines,” Dr. Sheikh says.
This technique has been helpful for Sonia Frontera, 57, who says she learned to manage migraine by listening to her body. “I paid attention to the triggers that preceded the headaches and what actions brought relief,” she says. “Whether it was taking medication right away, applying ice, lying down, using essential oils, massage, and others.”
For people who are still struggling to find a migraine treatment that works, Dr. Sheikh recommends starting a headache diary where you track the date the headache occurs, whether you took any medication, and any potential triggers you think may have caused the migraine—like the weather, what you ate, what your stress level was like, and any hormonal changes that could play a role. “This can be very helpful in picking up patterns and finding triggers,” Dr. Sheikh says. “It is also very important to find a practitioner that you connect with and you feel is responsive and willing to work with you.”
As trying as this process is, support and hope can go a long way
Even if you’re feeling extremely frustrated on the pathway to migraine diagnosis or treatment, Dr. Rosen encourages you to never lose hope, and remember that new migraine treatments are constantly being developed. He says that he’s even seen some refractory cases (which describe people who haven’t found relief after trying several evidence-based treatments) finally respond to new treatments or trials.
Dr. Sheikh emphasizes the importance of finding a doctor who you connect with, as well as support from other people with migraine. “There are also Facebook pages that can be helpful in addition to resources like the American Migraine Foundation and American Headache Society that have patient-specific forums that can be helpful in finding people who have also been through similar situations of trying to find the right diagnosis [and] treatment.”
Helton, who went through multiple doctors and treatments before finding a migraine management plan that works for her, urges other people with migraine to not be afraid to get a second—or even a third—opinion.
“Sometimes doctors will tell you that there's nothing wrong with you, but you have to trust your gut,” she says. “If you really feel like there is something wrong, put your foot down and just see another doctor that might actually help you identify what is going on.”
Sayre echoes this sentiment when asked for her most important piece of advice to fellow migraine patients: “Understand that every person’s migraine experience is as unique as their fingerprint,” she says. “What works for one migraineur—from heat versus cold therapy to the dosing of daily preventative medications—might not work for your unique, one-of-a-kind brain.”
9 Ways People Are Getting Migraine Relief These Days
Anyone who experiences migraines knows that they’re painful, frustrating, and can eat up a lot of your time. Migraine relief isn’t easy to come by, and it can be even harder when we’re in the midst of a pandemic.4https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/migraines-were-destroying-my-life-heres-what-finally-cured-me/2016/05/02/7007b840-f6b1-11e5-9804-537defcc3cf6_story.html
Unfortunately, common triggers for migraines include stress and sleep changes, as the Mayo Clinic explains. Considering the current state of the world, it would only be fair to suspect migraineurs have extra challenges to deal with these days. We spoke with a few to find out how they’re getting some migraine relief these days.
The following responses have been edited for length and clarity:
1. I’ve just accepted I have to step away from the screen
“I just had the worst migraine that lasted from Wednesday night until Friday night.
“When I do get migraines, it is right before or at the beginning of my period. Lately, they have been mild and just ‘headaches,’ but this time around it was a migraine.
“I have been working way more with a computer screen. My job [as an elementary school teacher] usually requires some screen time for sure, but not nearly as much. My job is 100% using my laptop now.
“I think the added screen time and having to work remotely did not help. Last week Monday to Wednesday I was at my computer (with breaks) each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. I know that’s a lot of people’s jobs, but it’s not something I’m used to!
“So to cope I took a break from screens and my work because the light and screen sensitivity is huge. I took a break from my phone screen too. It’s not even like I have a choice—I cannot use it when it’s that bad. I listened to movies and podcasts to occupy my mind because I couldn’t do anything. I slept a lot.” —Julie-Anne B., 30
2. I try to be in a dark room and use things like menthol when I can
“I actually had some really nasty ones when this all started. But since the COVID-19 pandemic started, I’ve also been working six days a week, so it might have been due to that.
“The best thing normally is being in a dark room, but when I’m working this isn’t practical.
“I also use a forehead stick with menthol to rub on my head. That takes my mind off it for a short time. I also always make sure I’ve had food because that can bring them on sometimes.” —Nicola B., 35
3. Stress isn’t a trigger for me, but I’m doing more yoga anyway
“I have had one migraine since the pandemic started. I get what’s called an ocular migraine on top of the regular migraine pain, and it causes me to lose vision in one or both eyes for a few hours. So when I first saw flickering lights, I knew a migraine was coming and took my prescription for when I feel a migraine coming before I even felt any pain.
“It was a weekend so I kept doing regular stuff around the house until the pain hit a few hours later. Then I took a second dose of my prescription, and took a THC/CBD gummy to help me sleep, grabbed some ice, and went up to my room and closed my black-out curtains, and slept for four to five hours. That one lasted for about a day and a half.
“My migraines aren’t really triggered by stress, so I haven’t been trying to lower stress levels just for that, but I have been doing some things to help control overall stress, like yoga and meditation.” —Kenzie M., 31
4. I’ve actually been less stressed, which seems to be helping
“I usually get them two to three times a year. They’ve reduced in frequency the older I get. I would have expected that being home and working at home with two teens would trigger something, but so far I’ve had one bad headache and that’s it. Although not having one in four weeks doesn’t seem significant.
“But I’ve also been less stressed because I’m not driving anywhere at all. I’ve been drinking all my water every day, walking a lot. And I’m more relaxed because of a more relaxed life.
“Trying to do everything I can to stay healthy is how I face every day right now. Good sleep is key too. No more getting up so early with a high schooler and no more activities three nights a week.” —Laura S., 49
5. I’m trying to remind myself not to live on coffee
“I had several migraines last week, and I’m assuming they were triggered by the extra stress, though I’m never sure.
“My routine isn’t all that different, as I work part-time from home, and things like eating and sleeping haven’t changed a ton (okay, maybe I’m eating a bit crappier!). But my stress is certainly up like most as I’m thrown back into the role of full-time parent and facilitator of remote learning for my kids so my husband can continue to work from home.
“I’ve been making sure to drink more water since then, as I’m so out of my routine and realized I was only drinking coffee for many days.” —Lynn S., 45
6. My migraines are currently terrible and making it hard to cope
“I started getting awful ones the day before I had to go to work in mid-March.
“I have had one almost every day since, and they are the worst intensity. It is completely awful and it’s making coping with the pandemic that much harder because I can’t fight away bad mental health if I am in so much pain.
“I constantly practice lifestyle changes to manage. It never ends, how much adjusting you have to do. It gets to a point where it takes away a lot of the things you used to enjoy. Certain foods, certain smells, staying outside, forms of exercise. Migraines take everything, and then they take your social interactions too.
“When this is finally over and we are all safe to be out in public, there are still going to be multiple events I won’t be able to attend because of my migraines, and that’s going to burn even worse than before quarantine.” —Natalie L., 24
Exercise helps, but bright light hurts, so I’m not sure whether to go outside
7. “I’ve had one or two migraines since the pandemic started. No more often than normal though.
“Exercise can help stave them off in my case, but bright light can trigger them, so I’ve been struggling with whether to go on a walk if I suspect I’m in a prodrome—that’s been the biggest change.
“So far I’ve been staying home and just doing yoga to mixed results. It’s hard to tell if you headed one off sometimes. It’s definitely made me (even more) apprehensive of The Outside at times.” —Julie R.G., 49
8. Soda is my secret weapon with migraines
“My migraines are way more frequent than they used to be. I think it’s because I’m on-screen all day. My typical workday is like six to eight hours of meetings, which are now moved to Zoom. When you’re meeting in person, it’s a good break from screen time.
“Also, I think some are triggered by stress, and my job is really busy and stressful right now, so that does not help at all. I feel super tired all the time.
“I keep mini cans of Coke available at all times—even before this. Migraines come on fast so I always have to be ready. Drinking one right at the onset helps me. I think it’s the caffeine.” —Kelly R., 31
9. I’m keeping my lifestyle choices on track, but it only helps so much
“My diet, exercise, lifestyle, et cetera, are all exactly what a neurologist wishes his patients would do to manage migraines. I’ve done nightly yoga since I was about 20 years old (24 years ago), mostly in order to keep tension migraines at bay.
I drink ridiculous amounts of water daily. Pay attention to my body. Avoid triggers. All the maintenance stuff.
Even with that, I’d still get them regularly (often in clusters). They can last for one to five days, plus the aftereffects, which feel like a slow, bruised brain for a day or two once the pain is gone.” —Kim B., 44
Managing Migraine Is Absolutely Possible—But It’s Not Always Easy.
There's currently no cure for migraines, although a number of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms. It may take time to work out the best treatment for you. You may need to try different types or combinations of medicines before you find the most effective ones.
Those with migraine must learn how to cope with the many ways it can affect their lives, and figuring that out can take time. Dr. Rosen stresses how important it is for people with chronic conditions like migraine to “develop good coping strategies over their lifetime.” There is no cure for migraine, just ways to manage it, so “learning to be kind and forgiving to yourself is essential,” he says.
I heard similar sentiments echoed by nearly every person I spoke to for this story, especially those who had been coping with chronic migraine for years. The importance of listening to your body cannot be overstated, and so I’ll leave you with some of the migraine self-care wisdom that was shared with me:
“I've learned to look at migraine treatment as a journey in self-care rather than a search for a solution...I can accept that I suffer from migraines, or I can resist that fact and add to my suffering. I choose the former because I can't change the fact I get migraines, but I do have control over how I think and act about that.” —Meghan (Denver)
“Never quit advocating for yourself. You are the only one in your body, and only you know how things are affecting you.” —Holli (Jackson, Tennessee)
“Give yourself the grace to look into what happens to you, and take the time for yourself to recover...We have overinvested in busy and underinvested in rest. And right now I am trying to recognize that my migraines shouldn’t be the thing telling me to rest.” —Meaghan (Tacoma, Washington)
“It sometimes feels culturally unacceptable to tap the brakes...None of these things are worth a migraine. Notice the signs, create a boundary, communicate with others, and take care.” —Jenna (New York City)
“I'm a Capricorn—I totally buy into the always-on-the-go, always hustling, always the working mentality of capitalism, so migraines have made me stop and rest once a month, which I think I need. I hate that it's because I'm debilitated from pain, but it's a time when I must force myself to rest. I've tried to take that lesson and find more work-life balance outside of that migraine timeframe.” —Felicia (New York City).
Taking care of yourself might help ease chronic daily headaches. There's currently no cure for migraines, although a number of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms. It may take time to work out the best treatment for you. You may need to try different types or combinations of medicines before you find the most effective ones. Some people who get migraines do see their symptoms go away over time. Doctors don't fully understand what causes migraines, so there's no step-by-step plan to make them stop. But it is possible to go into remission (stop having migraines). No, it's NOT normal to get headaches everyday. Most people have headaches from time to time. But if you have a headache more days than not, you might have chronic daily headaches, which come in many forms – most of them pretty disabling. Many possible migraine triggers have been suggested, including hormonal, emotional, physical, dietary, environmental and medicinal factors. These triggers are very individual, but it may help to keep a diary to see if you can identify a consistent trigger. Migraines can begin at any age, though the first often occurs during adolescence. Migraines tend to peak during your 30s, and gradually become less severe and less frequent in the following decades. Natural remedies for headaches include the following: One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. When to get medical advice. You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms. Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine. Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time. Medication overuse. Obesity. Poor-quality sleep because of issues like sleep apnea or snoring. Stressful life events or stress in general.v The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees disability benefits. They don't list migraine as a condition that qualifies for disability. But they do recognize that migraine may be a symptom of a much larger medical condition Many of the patients I see with migraine are concerned that the migraine attacks or the disease is causing permanent damage. To the best of our understanding, that's completely wrong. Migraine patients do not have to be worried about long-term brain damage. It simply doesn't happen. Migraine-trigger foods include the following: A patient who has headaches as many days as not — at least 15 days per month — is said to have chronic daily headache (CDH). Not a specific type of headache, CDH is rather a descriptive term applied to any number of headache types. Headaches that can occur on a daily or near-daily basis include Cluster. There are numerous potential causes, including migraine, a head injury, or a viral illness, such as COVID-19. Anyone who has a headache for days that does not respond to over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication should seek guidance from a doctor. Without effective treatment, migraine attacks usually last for four to 24 hours. When you're suffering a migraine, even four hours is far too long — and that's why early treatment for a migraine is so important. It is caused by hormonal changes in women. Migraines in women are more common around the time of their menstrual periods. The abrupt drop in estrogen that triggers menses can also trigger migraines. Hormonal changes can also be brought on by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. If you get bad migraines or you have them often, you may worry that if you don't already have a brain tumor, the migraines might cause one. But research can help put your mind at ease. There is no evidence migraines cause brain tumors. The International Headache Society defines chronic migraine as headache occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than three months, where at least 8 of those headache days have migraine features: The pain is moderate or severe and often intense. The pain may be on one side or the head or both. Experts say that getting more than two headaches a week for longer than a fortnight could signal a serious condition, and it is best to consult a doctor about it. It has come to light that people take the effects of headache very lightly. For many patients, migraine is associated with other illnesses such as: Licensed medical professionals treat migraines by injecting botulinum toxin into multiple areas around the head and neck. The treatments are approved for select people age 18 and older who experience 15 or more migraine days per month. If you have severe headaches or accompanying symptoms that are disrupting your life, it might be a good idea to see a neurologist. Consider making an appointment with a neurologist if: Your headache is continuous for more than a day or two. Your headaches tend to come on suddenly. What are the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine? Symptoms of hemiplegic migraine can include: weakness on one side of your body, including your face, arm, and leg. Neurologist Dr. Joshua Daniel of Shore Physicians Group said many migraine headache sufferers are found to be deficient in magnesium when they have blood work done. According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), migraine can increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and angina. Migraine can also increase the risk of stroke, coronary events, and other related death by roughly 50%. It may also double the risk of heart disease from reduced blood flow. Severe Migraines Deserve an ER Visit. Go to the ER if you are experiencing severe migraine symptoms, or symptoms such as confusion, fever and vision changes, neck stiffness, trouble speaking or numbness or weakness, even if other symptoms of migraine are present (e.g. light sensitivity, nausea). Permanent migraines are also known as chronic migraines which are defined as having at least 15 headache days a month, with at least 8 days of having headaches with migraine features, for more than 3 months. Chronic headache begins as less frequent headache episodes that gradually change into a more frequent headache pattern.
Frequently Asked Questions About Migraines
Taking care of yourself might help ease chronic daily headaches.
There's currently no cure for migraines, although a number of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms. It may take time to work out the best treatment for you. You may need to try different types or combinations of medicines before you find the most effective ones.
Some people who get migraines do see their symptoms go away over time. Doctors don't fully understand what causes migraines, so there's no step-by-step plan to make them stop. But it is possible to go into remission (stop having migraines).
No, it's NOT normal to get headaches everyday. Most people have headaches from time to time. But if you have a headache more days than not, you might have chronic daily headaches, which come in many forms – most of them pretty disabling.
Many possible migraine triggers have been suggested, including hormonal, emotional, physical, dietary, environmental and medicinal factors. These triggers are very individual, but it may help to keep a diary to see if you can identify a consistent trigger.
Migraines can begin at any age, though the first often occurs during adolescence. Migraines tend to peak during your 30s, and gradually become less severe and less frequent in the following decades.
Natural remedies for headaches include the following:
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells.
When to get medical advice. You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms. Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine. Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
Medication overuse. Obesity. Poor-quality sleep because of issues like sleep apnea or snoring. Stressful life events or stress in general.v
The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees disability benefits. They don't list migraine as a condition that qualifies for disability. But they do recognize that migraine may be a symptom of a much larger medical condition
Many of the patients I see with migraine are concerned that the migraine attacks or the disease is causing permanent damage. To the best of our understanding, that's completely wrong. Migraine patients do not have to be worried about long-term brain damage. It simply doesn't happen.
Migraine-trigger foods include the following:
A patient who has headaches as many days as not — at least 15 days per month — is said to have chronic daily headache (CDH). Not a specific type of headache, CDH is rather a descriptive term applied to any number of headache types. Headaches that can occur on a daily or near-daily basis include Cluster.
There are numerous potential causes, including migraine, a head injury, or a viral illness, such as COVID-19. Anyone who has a headache for days that does not respond to over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication should seek guidance from a doctor.
Without effective treatment, migraine attacks usually last for four to 24 hours. When you're suffering a migraine, even four hours is far too long — and that's why early treatment for a migraine is so important.
It is caused by hormonal changes in women. Migraines in women are more common around the time of their menstrual periods. The abrupt drop in estrogen that triggers menses can also trigger migraines. Hormonal changes can also be brought on by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
If you get bad migraines or you have them often, you may worry that if you don't already have a brain tumor, the migraines might cause one. But research can help put your mind at ease. There is no evidence migraines cause brain tumors.
The International Headache Society defines chronic migraine as headache occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than three months, where at least 8 of those headache days have migraine features: The pain is moderate or severe and often intense. The pain may be on one side or the head or both.
Experts say that getting more than two headaches a week for longer than a fortnight could signal a serious condition, and it is best to consult a doctor about it. It has come to light that people take the effects of headache very lightly.
For many patients, migraine is associated with other illnesses such as:
Licensed medical professionals treat migraines by injecting botulinum toxin into multiple areas around the head and neck. The treatments are approved for select people age 18 and older who experience 15 or more migraine days per month.
If you have severe headaches or accompanying symptoms that are disrupting your life, it might be a good idea to see a neurologist. Consider making an appointment with a neurologist if: Your headache is continuous for more than a day or two. Your headaches tend to come on suddenly.
What are the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine? Symptoms of hemiplegic migraine can include: weakness on one side of your body, including your face, arm, and leg.
Neurologist Dr. Joshua Daniel of Shore Physicians Group said many migraine headache sufferers are found to be deficient in magnesium when they have blood work done.
According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), migraine can increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and angina. Migraine can also increase the risk of stroke, coronary events, and other related death by roughly 50%. It may also double the risk of heart disease from reduced blood flow.
Severe Migraines Deserve an ER Visit. Go to the ER if you are experiencing severe migraine symptoms, or symptoms such as confusion, fever and vision changes, neck stiffness, trouble speaking or numbness or weakness, even if other symptoms of migraine are present (e.g. light sensitivity, nausea).
Permanent migraines are also known as chronic migraines which are defined as having at least 15 headache days a month, with at least 8 days of having headaches with migraine features, for more than 3 months. Chronic headache begins as less frequent headache episodes that gradually change into a more frequent headache pattern.
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