The Worst Thing About a Migraine Isn’t the Headache

migraineThe worst thing about migraines isn't the head pain: It's everything else. A new study by surveyed 2632 sufferers about their migraine experiences. Almost all of the respondents were women. Though we don't know how many of the participants were moms, almost half of them (40 percent) admitted that migraines affect their relationships with their children.

Half also said migraines have affected their jobs. And some (10 percent) even said their illness had led to divorce or separation. Meanwhile, employers lose about $13 billion due to their employees' migraine-related missed days. OK, I get it now: A migrane is way, way more than a headache.



So the headache part of a migraine is a given -- we all know about that. But for most sufferers migraine is actually vicious combination of symptoms like sensitivity to sound and smell, difficulty concentrating, nausea, fatigue, and neck pain. Treating those symptoms is complicated: Most respondents say they've held off on medications either because of the high costs or the side effects. And worst of all, the combination of symptoms and the problems with medication means many suffer from depression and anxiety, as well.

So yeah, take some pain reliever and a nap? Apparently that's not going to work for most. It's kind of amazing (in a horrible way) how hard it seems to get a handle on this condition. The friends I've had with migraine all seem to disappear from off the face of the Earth from time to time. And they're always trying something new in a desperate attempt to fight off their painful and debilitating demons. Now that I've seen these survey results I know it's not just my friends -- this is a widespread problem.

Anyway, did this study to serve "as a wake up call to the healthcare system and to society as a whole to recognize the broad impact that migraine has on the lives of those who suffer from it." Most of us can try to be more patient and compassionate, but I hope this leads to better, more comprehensive treatments.

Have you seen the way migraines can affect people's lives?


Image via Julien Haler/Flickr



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