11 Things Migraine Sufferers Are Tired Of Hearing

Migraine is more than just a headache, so we scoured past comments from readers to identify some of the things migraine sufferers hear all too often.

1. “Have you tried—?”

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Fact: Despite available treatments, migraine patients still suffer. Up to 80% of patients choose to discontinue treatments within one year.¹

¹ Hepp Z et al. Adherence to oral migraine-preventive medications among patients with chronic migraine. Cephalalgia. 2015 May; 35(6):478-88.

2. “You’re probably dehydrated. Drink some water.”

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Fact: Migraine often comes with incapacitating head pain, nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances.²

² Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS): The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013; 33 629-808.

3. “Oh, I get headaches too.”

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Fact: Migraine is a disease, marked by severe, recurrent headaches.

4. “But you look fine!”

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Fact: The World Health Organization ranks migraine as one of the most debilitating of all illnesses.³

³ Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Lancet. 2013;386:743-800.

5. “You were okay yesterday.”

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Fact: 1 in 10 people are affected by migraine worldwide.³

³ Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Lancet. 2013;386:743-800.

6. “Are you SURE it’s a migraine?”

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Fact: Migraine can have up to four distinct phases — premonitory (or prodrome), aura, headache and post-drome (or migraine “hangover”) — and each of them has many potential symptoms.

7. “You aren’t even trying to get rid of it, are you?”

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Fact: Treating migraine is especially difficult because it “involves nerve pathways and brain chemicals” in addition to genetics and environmental stimuli.

8. “You really skipped work because of a migraine?”

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Fact: The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost workdays due to migraine.

9. “Is it because you’re stressed?”

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Fact: Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraine than men.⁴

⁴ Stewart WF, Wood C, Reed ML, et al. Group Cumulative lifetime migraine incidence in women and men. Cephalalgia. 2008;28:1170-1178.

10. “Do you have a brain tumor?”

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Fact: Migraine is associated with personal and societal burdens of pain and disability, and it remains underrecognized and undertreated, with more than 50% of people going undiagnosed.⁵

⁵ Lipton et al. Migraine diagnosis and treatment: results from the American Migraine Study II. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2001;41(7)638-645.

11. “Why don’t you go to the doctor?”

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Fact: Though a third of patients qualify for preventative treatments, few of those patients actually receive it.⁶

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