15 Things People Who Get Migraines Want You to Know
All the well-intentioned, relevant, good advice is usually appreciated, but sometimes people just don’t realize what they’re saying to someone who suffers from migraines. When it comes to the excruciating pain and the helpless feeling that your head may split in half, most people can’t relate. In most cases, empathy trumps well-intentioned, relevant good advice.
There are 35 million Americans, a majority of which are women, who unpredictably and usually without warning, must cringe, wince and do their best to deal with the excruciating pain of a migraine. While driving. At work. After a slight turn of the head. In the midst of eating.
Bright sunshine scorches the eyes like a blow torch. It’s a notorious jolt only migraine sufferers really know.
Unfortunately, stereotypes, myths and misconceptions happen. Many people, even some family doctors, don’t fully understand the very complex and invariably private misery it causes. The sharp, splitting pain. The nausea. The vomiting. The cramps. The depression. And more.
When the pain hits, even the most caring and well-intentioned good advice is not welcome. Instead, try some understanding.
Here are 15 things people who suffer with migraines want you to know.
1. It’s NOT just a bad headache!
Absolutely! Definitely! Doctors and researchers agree that migraines are a genetic, neurological disease characterized by flare-ups most commonly called “migraine attacks.”
This is a far cry from “just a bad headache!”
Migraine attacks are a special and specific pain. It’s confusing and jarring for some people to actually comprehend that migraine attacks CAN happen with no headache. In fact, in diagnostic, medical terms, there must be various other symptoms other than headache for the diagnosis of a migraine attack. “A migraine headache” has just become a misunderstood but common reference.
2. “It only lasts a day” is an unintentionally foolish and simplistic cliché
Migraines usually last from four to 72 hours, and sometimes longer! For days, weeks, or even months.
Unfortunately, some people do have migraines nearly daily. Chronic Migraine (CM) is all too real and it’s not uncommon that the migraines or severe, tension-type headaches last for 15 or more days per month.
3. It affects one side of the head, BUT…
Unlike most other headaches, migraine attacks usually strike on one side of the head. But they don’t always stay still. The pain can move from side to side. Most people describe the pain as throbbing or pounding.
Migraines can start any time of day, or they can wake people up in the middle of the night. They can last four hours or longer. A really bad migraine can last as long as a week. Migraines can be much more serious than just excruciating and annoying. While the migraine itself may not be life-threatening, some complications and risk factors associated with migraine can be.