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11 Things Migraine Sufferers Are Tired Of Hearing

"Is it really THAT bad?"

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."


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

⁶ Dekker F et al. Prophylactic treatment of migraine by GPs: a qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Apr; 62(597): e268–e274.

  1. Finally, which is the most annoying to hear?

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Finally, which is the most annoying to hear?
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    "Have you tried—?"
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    "Oh, I get headaches too."
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    "You really skipped work?"
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    "Are you SURE it's a migraine?"
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    "Why don't you go to the doctor?"

Proper diagnosis and treatment is an important part of your migraine management. Talk to your health care provider about how best to manage your migraine. 💙