There are 38 million people in the U.S. whose lives are upended by these headaches. We can’t know your pain but hope to better understand the condition and the effects it has on daily life. The month of June brings national awareness shining a spotlight on this healthcare issue. The National Migraine Foundation website lists: 1 billion worldwide with 1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men and 1 in 11 children. These numbers should give us pause that strong support is key for sufferers.
Why is it so common?
It is a genetic condition, the 3rd most common and 7th most disabling medical disorder in the world, so you are not alone in a hunt for more information. This is a serious health problem, especially for women as they have sporadic pain for a longer time and more chronic pain than men. It is 3 times more common in women than in men. The more severe and more frequent attacks often result from changes in estrogen levels.
What are the symptoms?
They can vary from person to person but may include:
• Pain in the face or neck
• A headache that can be acute, frequent or throbbing
• Dizziness, lightheadedness
• Sensitivity to light, sound, distorted vision or seeing flashes of light
• Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea or Constipation
• Nasal Congestion, Irritability, Scalp Tenderness
What are the triggers
These headaches can come out of nowhere while other times started by:
• Hormonal changes
• Loud noises
• Strong smells
Start Key lifestyle changes by:
• Reducing stress
• Maintaining good health habits
• Get regular exercise
• Sleep 7-8 hours nightly
• Drink plenty of water
• Don’t skip meals
How to ease the pain
Talk with your doctor about ways to help ease the pain whether through medications or other forms of relief including:
• Lying down in a quiet, dark and cool room
• If you can’t lie down, go somewhere that you can turn off the lights
• Use a hot or cold compress on the head or neck
• Put gentle pressure on painful areas of your temple
Make a Plan
Half of sufferers are never diagnosed so talk to your health care provider about any symptoms you are experiencing. Keep a diary or journal to help focus on what sparks an event to start. There are also several mobile/computer apps available that help track your headaches and give easy-to-read reports that you can share with your medical team.
Your journey to managing migraines begins with understanding this disorder and working towards a lifestyle that helps you live your best life.
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for healthcare by your physician.