40 million Americans suffer from migraines. It is the most common and the most debilitating neurological disorder. But half of the people who have migraines don’t see a doctor for help. One reason is the stigma associated with migraines.
June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. This is a great time to think about whether you or someone you love might need some medical support for migraine headaches.
Misconceptions about migraines
- “It’s just a headache.” Headaches are one symptom of migraine disease, but “migraine” doesn’t just mean “headache.” Migraines cause intense pain and are often associated with other symptoms, like light sensitivity or nausea.
- “It’s just stress.” Stress is the most common trigger for migraines. But dismissing migraine as “just stress” suggests that it’s something minor or that the person with migraines is being oversensitive. It also ignores the fact that migraine seems to have a genetic component.
- “It’s my own fault.” There are some migraine triggers that can be avoided, including alcohol and foods like cheese or cured meats. However, there are also plenty of triggers, like certain weather conditions or hormones, that are not under your control. Migraines often follow a combination of triggers, so it is hard to control them.
- “OTC medicines are enough.” While over-the-counter medications can help with pain, they don’t help most sufferers lead a normal life. Taking pain pills regularly can even make migraines worse.
- “There’s nothing that can be done about it.” This is one reason some people who experience migraines don’t see a doctor. However, there are effective treatments for migraines.
Botox is one treatment for migraines.
Other treatments that may help:
- Anti-CGRP medications
- Other prescription medications
- Lifestyle changes
Your doctor will work with you to determine the best way to manage your migraines. If you think that you might suffer from migraines, schedule an appointment with a neurologist.