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Migraine is the 6th most disabling condition worldwide, and affects millions of people. However, the severity and reality of this common condition is often underplayed.

Misconception #1

A migraine is JUST another headache…

FALSE. Migraines are distinctly different due to the duration, severity and specific symptoms that encompass only a migraine. Migraine is a complex neurological disease that follows several phases of symptoms, often ending with a sufferer feeling physically drained for up to 24 hours post-attack.

The below image from the American Migraine Foundation (2018) outlines the timeline of a migraine and how it differs to just another headache.

Timeline of a Migraine Attack

 

Misconception #2

It isn’t as bad as you say it is.

This can be a hard one, as there is certainly a certain stigma that someone who suffers from migraines is just complaining. Often, people who have never experienced a true headache or migraine are not good at understanding the chronicity or severity of this condition. Headaches and migraines appear different in every person. It is a spectrum illness meaning that the severity varies from person to person, so no one person can relate to the exact experience you are having. Migraines can be accompanied by such significant symptoms of nausea, vomiting, vision or hearing loss as well as partial paralysis, resulting in hospitalisation. Or they can be characterised by extremely severe pain.

Those who are educated in regards to migraine’s understand the severity and variation of this condition!

Misconception #3

Pain medication can “cure” migraines.

FALSE. Pain medication purely masks the symptoms of migraines, resulting ongoing or potential worsening of frequency or duration. Pain medication can alter the sensitivity of structures in the brain, actually resulting in an overall worsening condition. The Watson Headache Certified method is a medication-free approach to eliminating migraines.

Other common misunderstandings

  1. It is not a vascular disorder – medications addressing this will not work in curing the migraine, but may help with pain in the short-term!
  2. Medication CAN contribute to medication overuse migraines, increasing migraine frequency and intensity in the long term.
  3. Tension migraines cannot be cured via acupuncture or scalp massages as they are not caused by tension in the scalp. These treatment methods may provide short term symptomatic relief.
  4. Menstrual migraines aren’t caused by hormonal imbalances so hormone medication will not cure your migraines.
  5. People often believe that migraines are the sufferers fault for not avoiding the triggers that cause the attack, however health professionals acknowledge that it is impossible to manage all of the factors that may impact an attack.

If you are a sufferer of migraines, don’t hesitate to contact us to book an appointment with our experienced clinicians today!

Migraines can be treated. Imagine a life free from pain!

References:

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/the-true-pain-of-migraine-misconceptions/

https://migraine.com/blog/common-misconceptions-about/