Migraine - More than just a headache!

Updated: Sep 6

Iman has EDS, ME, POTS and fibromyalgia. She also suffers from various migrane including chronic migraine, vestibular migraine and abdominal migraine. For Migraine Awareness Week (which runs from 5th-14th September this year), Iman explains to us everything to do with migraines!


Did you know 20% of folks who experience migraine are disabled?


It’s Migraine Awareness Week! As someone who lives with chronic migraine, there is a lot people misunderstand. I wanted to shed some light on the reality for many of us who live with this disabling condition.


Chronic migraine is an invisible illness. It is a dynamic disability, the 6th most disabling illness in the world. It is heavily stigmatized leading people (regardless of gender) to underreport symptoms. [1]

Source: https://AmericanMigraineFoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-chronic-migraine/


There are 3 frequencies of migraine! [2]

  1. Low-frequency episodic migraine: less than 10 days per month

  2. High-frequency episodic migraine: 10-14 days per month

  3. Chronic migraine: 15 or more days per month; meaning that people with chronic migraine have a migraine more often than not

Migraine triggers can include but are not limited to:

  • Changes in climate

  • Stress/crying

  • Movement

  • Allergies/hormones

  • Bright/flickering lights

  • Dehydration

  • Medications

  • Poor posture

  • Caffeine/poor sleep

  • Missed/irregular meals

  • Screen time

  • Uncomfortable/loud medical visits (Dentist, MRI’s)

Some symptoms people may have are nausea/vomiting, blurred or loss of vision, anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, restlessness, brain fog, sensitivity to all 5 senses.


Drinking more water is not the simple fix people think it is!


Managing migraine means focusing on coping strategies.

Wearing sunglasses to block out light. Headphones/earplugs so sounds are less overstimulating. Taking nausea/migraine abortive medications. Bundling up to stay warm. Making sure your head is not exposed to the cold air.

What I wish people knew

  • Migraine exists on a spectrum

  • Advil/Tylenol doesn’t help everyone

  • Not everyone experiences head pain

  • The condition is called migraine. Migraines is an incorrect way to refer to the migraine attacks.

  • Migraine affects multiple places in body besides head

  • Symptoms can be everyday for weeks, months, or even years

  • There are many different types of migraine (ex: abdominal, vestibular, etc.)

  • Many conditions can coexist (ex: sleep disorders, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, TMJ)

There is so much more to migraines than people realise. Continue to learn and educate yourself. Know that unless you experience it you have no idea how debilitating it truly can be. Support the people in your life who live with chronic migraine. Let them know you care.


Sources

[1] American Migraine Foundation - What is Chronic Migraine https://AmericanMigraineFoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-chronic-migraine/

[2] American Migraine Foundation - Chronic Migraine Resources https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/chronic-migraine/


 

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