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What To Say To Someone With A Migraine

How Are Migraines Diagnosed

What NOT to say to someone with vestibular migraines

Your doctor can diagnose migraines by the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor might want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain. These tests can help ensure there are no other causes for the headache. You may also be asked to keep a headache journal. This can help your doctor identify the things that might cause your migraines.

If headache pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, its time to see your family doctor. Read More

Key Facts To Know About Migraine

What is a migraine and what are the symptoms?

Cooper: A migraine is a reflex in our nervous system that we all have, and we understand the biology now better than we ever did. We know the immune system gets activated, the nervous system gets activated, and theres a consequence of a hypersensitized brain with light and sound sensitivity and pain.

Everyone in the world can have a migraine. Those who say theyve never had a migraine but have had a hangover headache have probably had a migraine that was induced by alcohol.

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For someone who has severe migraine, they cant just be fine in an hour or two when it occurs. They expand to having severe light and sound sensitivity or severe nausea sometimes having to throw up, lie down and actually sleep or rest for a day or two at a time.

They have no way to predict when thats going to happen. It may occur while a person is at work or maybe while they have something important going on, such as a wedding. Theres really no way to control that.

What causes migraine?

Cooper: Anything that irritates that nervous system experience can cause migraine. For some people, thats not getting enough sleep. For others, its because theyve been under undue amounts of stress.

Red wine can also bring out migraine, as can eating foods high in sugars and overusing caffeine.

How do I know if I have a headache or a migraine?

SEE ALSO: Why Your Tight Ponytail Causes a Painful Headache

When Should I See My Doctor

If you get severe headaches but dont know whats causing them, or if the pattern of your headaches changes, it is important for you to consult a doctor. Even if you have previously consulted a doctor and been diagnosed with migraines, but your prescribed treatment has not been successful, it is worth going again. Migraines can be managed.

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Be Sensitive When Choosing Meeting Locations

For someone who suffers from migraines, there may be a few things which we love to do but simply cant anymore because it could trigger an attack.

I cant do things I enjoyed before. Attending films, concerts, clubs and even playing music.

I cant go on long walks in the parks when the warm/hot weather comes back. I would really love to but I cant.

I used to listen to music a lot but I cant do that anymore.

Heres a small tip, avoid suggesting places with a lot of people and loud noises. Maybe a nice short walk in the evening or a quiet dinner at our favourite cafe or restaurant would be nice!

How Strong Is Your Friendship

What NOT to Say to a Migraine Sufferer

If youre a friend or family member and youve read this far well done! Youve demonstrated you really do care and want to help. Migraine patients often go through a world of a pain and now that you have a glimpse of our world, we are both better for it.

If youve read this list a feel guilty that youve said some or all of things dont despair. The fact that you made it here shows us that you are a true friend and that we are lucky to have you.

In fact, now its our turn to apologize.

On behalf of the person with migraine who sent you here Id like to say thank you for putting up with us. I know we are all far from perfect. Over the years Ive taken meds which have made me gain weight, lose weight, be happy, be cranky, and youve been there through the ups and downs. That means a lot to us and we really appreciate it.

Thank you. I dont say it nearly enough.

What other comments have you heard? No judgment here, weve all been guilty at one stage. Please share them in the comments below.

Now go share this with a friend or family member.

Article References

1. William B. Young, Jung E. Park, Iris X. Tian, Joanna Kempner. The Stigma of Migraine. PLoS ONE, 2013 8 : e54074 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.00540742. Velentgas, P., Cole, J. A., Mo, J., Sikes, C. R. and Walker, A. M. , Severe Vascular Events in Migraine Patients. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 44: 642651. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2004.04122.x

Carl Cincinnato

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Let Me Grab Your Meds/cefaly/ice Pack For You

Good friends ask, What can I do to help? Great friends have learned what you need when a migraine attack strikes. They know to look for your rescue medication in your bag. Theyll bring you your CEFALY DUAL so you can use the ACUTE program as soon as symptoms begin. Theyll even run out to the nearest drive-thru to get you a vanilla milkshake, iced tea or anything that helps.

The next best thing to hear when you have a migraine is, What can I do to make this better? People who truly care about you hate feeling helpless when youre in pain. Telling them what you need, and accepting help from them, doesnt make you weak or dependent. It deepens your relationship and means youll have support when you need it.

Did you know that CEFALY is now available over the counter, without a prescription? Try it risk-free for 60 days to begin seeing the benefits of this innovative, drug-free, clinically proven migraine treatment.

What Should I Do When A Migraine Begins

Work with your doctor to come up with a plan for managing your migraines. Keeping a list of home treatment methods that have worked for you in the past also can help. When symptoms begin:

  • If you take migraine medicine, take it right away.
  • Drink fluids, if you don’t have nausea during your migraine.
  • Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room, if that is practical.

Some people find the following useful:

  • A cold cloth on your head
  • Rubbing or applying pressure to the spot where you feel pain
  • Massage or other relaxation exercises

Also Check: Fever With Migraine

Show You Care: What To Say To Someone Suffering From A Migraine

Anyone who is frequently around friends or loved ones who frequently suffer from headaches or migraines knows that the condition can be a touchy subject. Its common to feel like youre walking on eggshells or delicately watching what you say so that painful situation doesnt become strained or aggravated.

So, instead of addressing what not to say to someone with migraines, I thought Id focus on some words or phrases that you SHOULD say. There are plenty of ways to show you care. Here are 10 suggestions to get you started.

I believe you. Thanks to the common perception that its just a headache, people are even more dubious about the severity of a migraine. Because of this, many people with migraines feel like few believe how horrendous and disabling a migraine attack can be. Telling a migraineur that you believe what theyre going through validates their painful situation.

Its not your fault. Theres a tendency to blame a person for illness smoking = lung cancer, unhealthful diet = heart attacks, stress = migraine. When the illness is both invisible and regarded as insignificant, the sick person is heaped with additional blame. Having others recognize that were not to blame is a tremendous salve and can remind us to be easier on ourselves, as well.

Its OK if you have to cancel plans. Canceling plans due to a migraine is tremendously difficult. But, its always a relief to make plans with someone who will understand if we have to cancel.

Its Often A Very Lonely Experience

Gravitas: A jab to treat Migraine?

People who get migraines often feel that no one understands what theyre going through, says Kessel. The public doesnt understand, she says, because they dont have all the information. I think that even the closest family members of people who experience migraines dont understand it. This may extend, she says, to close friends and even doctors.

Jacobson says she was surprised that when she first started getting feedback from followers of The Daily Migraine, they said that what they valued most about the site werent ideas for better symptom management. Instead, 95 percent of people said they dont feel alone anymore.

Dumas doubts that anyone who doesnt experience migraines can truly understand the condition. Just as I can’t fully understand epilepsy or Parkinson’s, she says, people on the outside cant ever really get it.

Read Also: Migraine Timeline

Keep Your Manager Informed

Migraine is a fluctuating and episodic condition and its impact on you at work may vary. Keeping your employer informed of any relevant changes to your condition or treatment can help them to provide you with the necessary support that you need. Your doctor and Occupational Health can support you in this process. You may also want to provide your employer with The Migraine Trusts website and information resources to help debunk any misconceptions or confusion about the condition.

Check Your Company Sickness Policies

At times migraine attacks can necessitate taking time off from employment. Since migraine attacks typically last between 4 to 72 hours, people with migraine are more likely to take short-term sickness absence due to their condition. Your companys sickness policy and absence management procedure should outline your employers approach to managing sickness absence, in particular short-term absences, how they will support you and what to expect if you take absence. It is important to familiarise yourself with these policies and you may also want to read your companys Equality and Diversity, and Health and Safety policies since these may also be relevant. If you are concerned about how your migraine related sickness absence is managed you are entitled to discuss this with your manager or HR. Information from your doctor and The Migraine Trusts Advocacy Service can support these discussions.

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For Some People Symptoms Never End

A minority of people who have migraines experience a chronic, rather than episodic, form of the condition. This means they have a migraine headache lasting 4 to 72 hours on 15 or more days each month for more than three months, with at least eight of those days including additional migraine symptoms, according to Robert P. Cowan, MD, a professor of neurology and the director of the headache program at Stanford University Medicine in Palo Alto, California.

Chronic migraines are estimated to affect about 1 percent of the population, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Some studies estimate that each year, about 2.5 percent of people who get episodic migraines will progress to the chronic form of the condition.

Kessel experiences migraine pain about 25 days each month, along with frequent nausea, light and sound sensitivity, fatigue, and scalp sensitivity. She also has constant tinnitus, or ringing in her ears. These symptoms persist, she notes, even when she takes preventive medicines, and theyre somewhat reduced but not well controlled when she takes rescue medicines.

Adds Jacobson, Ive had migraines that lasted 400 days. Everyone has them for a different amount of time.

I Wish I Could Hang Out At Home All The Time Like You

18 Things Not to Say to a Person with Migraine

What NOT to say to someone with migraine.

7) I wish I could hang out at home all the time like you

Another insensitive comment. Perhaps youd like a day or week or more off work. Sure, who wouldnt? But would you trade your health and quality of living for it? Would you give up your freedom, self-esteem, confidence, and happiness for it?

Being chronically ill is lonely, debilitating and dangerously depressing. You, on the other hand, can reach your full potential to be a productive, active member of society.

Read Also: Advil Or Tylenol For Migraine

Why Dont You Take

OK, you get a headache, you go to local pharmacy and pickup some pain relief medicine. But thats not the case with the person suffering from migraine. If they get such pain relief medicines without any prescription, its probably not going to help them one bit. It needs to be treated with exact prescription from the neurologists.

What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain

For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:

  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen
  • an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • ketoprofen

People who have more severe migraines may need to try abortive prescription medicines. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription medicines for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.

If the pain wont go away, stronger pain medicine may be needed, such as a narcotic, or medicines that contain a barbiturate . These medicines can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously. Your doctor may prescribe these only if they are needed and only for a short period of time.

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You Are Too Young To Be This Sick

Migraine doesn’t discriminate based on age, like other diseases, unfortunately, many children have Migraine. Young or old, however, it is never fun to feel like you are missing out. Migraine does affect our lives in big ways, and it can be tough for a person with Migraine to watch while as their healthier milestones with careers, relationships, travel, etc.

Instead of making your friend feel like they are missing out, strive to make them feel included.

What Not To Say To Someone With Migraine

How to Pronounce Migraines? (CORRECTLY)

Those of us who suffer with chronic migraine pain have probably all experienced the insensitive, and sometimes outrageous, comments made by those around us. These are typically people who do not understand what it is to live either in pain or in fear of the next attack. Strangely, it has occurred in my life with alarming frequency and from surprising sources, such as the misguided advice of an ER doctor and close relatives without a clue.

It is frustrating when you are already suffering and feeling like you are just getting by, and then someone says something so ridiculous or insulting there really is no polite response. I say very little in those instances, though a comeback is playing in my mind.

Here are a few of the top insensitive comments about migraines we have all heard at some point. May it serve as a guide of what not to say to someone with migraine.

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Some Pointers If Youve Decided To Talk To Your Employer About Your Headaches

Claire Thomson

If you are a headache or migraine sufferer and have made the decision to discuss your medical condition with your employer, you may not know where to begin.

Its ultimately your call on how or even if you want to talk to your boss about your condition, and you have no obligation to do so. However, if you decide this is a conversation you want to have, here are some pointers on how you could possibly approach this discussion.

Telling your boss about headaches or migraines at work can be stressful because there can be a stigma attached to them, says Lisa Brateman, LCSW, a psychotherapist and relationship specialist who practices in New York City. Her suggestions:

Leave Shame at the Door. First things first: Dont feel ashamed about your condition, Brateman says. You can offer just as much as someone who doesnt suffer from headaches or migraines, she says.

. You might think through how often you get headaches or migraines and when they are debilitating. Does your boss need advance warning? Possibly, if you get headaches often, says Brateman: You want to warn them so that if you start calling in sick or not following through, you dont have to backtrack and say, This is why.

You’re Just Stressed Out

What NOT to say to someone with migraine.

6) Youre just stressed out

Migraines are a genetic and neurologic disease which results in a sensitized brainstem that overreacts to otherwise normal stimuli. Consequently, many of us have healthy levels of stress in our lives and still experience migraine attacks.

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I Think Youd Feel Better If You Drank More Water

This is really infuriating, and for good reason. Lets say it loudly for the people in the back: You cannot cure migraine by drinking water.

While dehydration can be a migraine trigger, drinking water is not a magical remedy. Other comments similar to this one: I think youd feel better if you exercised more/did yoga/were less stressed. Yes, certain lifestyle practices can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. No, they cannot cure a serious neurological condition. When people suggest that wellness is the answer, theyre subtly saying that youre causing your own migraine attacks by not taking care of yourself.

Lower The Volume And Get Rid Of Strong Smells

[VIDEO] What Not to Say to Someone With Migraine

When migraine sufferers experience noise sensitivity, even the slightest sound like your breathing could sound like cymbals right at their ear. Earplugs are almost aways a must at times like these.

Furthermore, although less common, sensitivity to smells can be heightened during a migraine attack . Some members of the Migraine Buddy community have mentioned that they felt like they suddenly had the superpower to smell almost anything and everything. Strong smells are also commonly said to be a trigger for migraines, especially the smell of perfumes, cigarette smoke and cleaning products, etc. If you know someone in your workplace who suffers from migraines, you might not have known but by not wearing cologne or perfume to work, youre being very considerate and doing them a big favour!

They both kill me and certain smells can cause instant vomiting. My bedroom is the darkest, coolest room in my house and I can put earplugs in and avoid all my heightened senses during an attack.

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