“It’s just Stress” and other Fallacies- The truth about Migraines: Migraines are debilitating neurological disorder that interferes with daily life, in and outside of the home. Chronic migraine headaches are one of the leading causes of disability, and account for millions of hospital visits to ER every year. Migraine symptoms, such as pulsating head pain, intense nausea and stomach cramping, acute sensitivity to strong scents, loud noise and bright lighting, make life unbearable for the migraine sufferer.
Still, families, friends and coworkers of migraine patients have difficulty relating, as there are many incorrect stereotypes and misconceptions that surround migraine illness, regardless of the best efforts of migraine awareness groups, such as M.A.G.N.U.M. and the World Headache Alliance, and online migraine support sites such as Migraine.com, Help for Headaches and WebMD- Migraines. (See Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients.)
Below is a list of 6 oft-repeated myths about migraines:
Migraine Myth #1: Migraines are like any other headaches.
Not true. Clenched muscles, usually in the upper back, shoulders, and neck regions, cause tension headaches. Common stress headache pain can range from mild to moderately severe; over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient treatments for the common headache.
Migraine headaches are a neurological illness. Constricted blood vessels cause migraine headaches, and the pain fluctuates between moderate to debilitating. The triggers that cause migraines are numerous: food, weather, stress, hormones, light, scents and sleep disturbances. Only a neurologist who specializes in migraine therapy can recommend proper treatment. Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
Migraine Myth #2: There’s no real cure for migraines.
Actually, there’s no one cure for migraines. Many factors need consideration when finding an effective migraine treatment; the task can sometimes seem fruitless. Don’t let pessimism keep you from finding migraine headache relief. Seek a qualified neurologist who specializes with migraines, and stay informed by frequently visiting online migraine forums and blogs. Alternative Migraine Treatments: Thinking outside of the Botox
Migraine Myth #3: Stress only triggers stress headaches, not migraines.
Stress is the leading cause of all headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. So how does one tell the difference between a migraine attack and a stress headache? Migraine pain attacks one side of the head only. Tension headaches are described as a tight band circling the head.
Migraine Myth #4: Migraines are associated with mental illness.
There is a high correlation between migraines, depression and anxiety, but that does not mean that all migraine patients have emotional disorders or need antidepressants. There is currently no proof that mental illness of any kind causes migraines. However, one must take into account the emotional strain chronic migraine sufferers experience. It is common for migraine patients to go through phases or depression, nervousness or anxiety while learning to cope with their condition. Stop Your Next Panic Attack in 4 Simple Steps
Migraine Myth #5: Migraine attacks always impair your ability to function.
The symptoms of migraines can range from moderate to severe. At its worst, migraine pain can be excruciating to the point that the only option is to take your medication and wait out the storm in a dark, quiet room. The fact that you are able to withstand head pain while running errands, working at the computer or trying to relax doesn’t contradict the nature of migraines, nor does it mean that you must endure the suffering. Top 10 Headache Symptoms that Point to Migraines
Migraine Myth #6: Migraineurs are usually hypochondriacs.
This is probably the most hurtful notion of all, because it forces the migraine sufferer to bear the burden of proof. Short of carrying around a brain scan imaging report, there’s little one can do prove to a skeptic that your headache symptoms are not imaginary. You can’t see a migraine; the debilitating symptoms are unobservable to all except a qualified neurologist. But the proof is available through multiple medical reports, scientific breakthroughs and social statistics.
Read more about migraine stigma and coping mechanisms:
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