Migraine – much more than a headache

This debilitating neurological disease affects 39 million people in the U.S. yet migraines are often downplayed as simply just a headache.

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Migraine – much more than just a headache

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Migraine is a debilitating neurological disease that affects 39 million people in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide. However, the severity of migraine is often downplayed as simply just a headache. For sufferers, migraine is a condition that deeply impacts their ability to live their lives.

Most people know that a migraine attack comes with a head pain, but the other symptoms are less commonly known. Migraine symptoms include severe throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the limbs or face. Migraine attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.

Some people deal with migraine once or twice a month, while others suffer from chronic migraines. Chronic migraine suffers have 15 or more headache days a month, so they live with migraine symptoms more often than they don’t.

Costs and Treatment

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 90% of sufferers are unable to work, attend school, or function normally during a migraine attack. It is estimated that migraine costs as much as $36 billion annually in the US in lost productivity and healthcare costs.

If you’re experiencing migraine symptoms, talk to your physician or a certified headache specialist to find a treatment plan that will work for you. There are both acute and preventive medications available, and many patients also find relief with lifestyle changes and limiting migraine triggers whenever possible.