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International Headache Congress 2013: Here We Come!

Migraine is a serious emphasis when Migraine and Headache specialists get together for scientific meetings and conferences, and this week is no different.

International Headache Congress (IHC) takes place June 27 – 30 in Boston.  This is a continuing medical education conference for doctors.  It is not for patients.  Things begin as early as 6:45am and end well into the evening.  The conference is so jam-packed full that even the lunch breaks are sessions.

Teri, Diana and I are headed to Boston in preparation for loading up the brain cells on the latest and greatest information that we are so eager to pass along to you.  As packed as these days are scheduled to be, it’s likely that we’ll have to do some tag-team conferencing to get through it all in one piece.

Some of the things we’ll be talking about in Boston include:

  • CGRP and new antibody therapies that affect this important target
  • The pros and cons of Migraine surgery for prevention
  • The introduction of the new ICHD-III beta version
  • The genetics and biomarkers of common Headache disorders
  • The use of placebos
  • Medication overuse headache
  • Pediatrics
  • Facial pain
  • TACs (trigeminal autonomic cephalgias)

Once we return home, it often takes us a while to talk about everything we want, and making those choices which to talk about first, is hard!  Sometimes you’ll see posts specifically about these things, and other times what we’ve learned comes up in conversations on our forum or blog posts.

This will also be the first time that the American Headache and Migraine Association will be represented at a conference, which is really exciting.  Migraine and Headache specialists have been super supportive and excited about this new patient organization – the first of its kind.  We have a booth set up to make sure physicians know about AHMA and how to get their patients involved, and we’ll have a lot of awareness items to benefit the organization as well.  After IHC these will be available for patients through AHMA.

Networking is important for us as advocates too.  It is at these conferences that we have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with researchers and specialists.  We also sometimes have a chance to talk to the companies that make the medicines patients depend on, allowing us to ask questions we can’t easily find answers for elsewhere. Sometimes these interactions are where the most interesting facts come to light, and questions are answered.

There are also posters to be reviewed and discussed.  Doctors and researchers create these posters to talk about subjects that didn’t make it into the conference itself, but they thought important enough to want to impart to other specialists and researchers.  Sometimes this leads to interesting research down the line.

The Exhibition Hall is full of all kinds of things that are Headache or Migraine related.  I’ve bought textbooks and picked up journals I depend on there.  I’ve tried on glasses which gives me the opportunity to tell patients what I think of different types and brands.  I learned how to use the Sumavel DosePro using a placebo version, so even though I can’t use triptans myself, I can talk about how the injector is used with some knowledge and experience.  I’ve also had the excitement of talking to companies who are creating treatments not yet available to patients.  These are details we might not otherwise be able to talk about until after the treatment makes it onto the market.  One year, I even helped out by participating in a Migraine genetics study by donating a tube of saliva for DNA examination.

If you don’t want to wait to find out what we’re learning about, you can watch twitter for on-the-spot tweets and posts with this hashtag:  #IHC2013.’s twitter account will also be retweeting us, so you can keep up with them here: @migrainedotcom . Those of you that follow us individually on other social media platforms like Facebook will see some up-to-the-minute posts too.

Stay tuned!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Vicki
    6 years ago

    Speaking for all the ones that don’t take the time to comment, or don’t see/know about this post or site, or don’t have a computer, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for being our advocates!! I’m one of those “researcher” types that reads up on the whys and what nows, lol. I have learned an incredible amount from the internet and listening to my body. Last year, I read an article on tannins. I wondered if it applied to me. I experimented by cutting out my lifelong love of sweet tea, and I got great results as far as my chronic daily headaches!! Yeah, it’s possible that caffeine might have something to do with it, but still, I got 100% relief! The migraines are still there, but I’m very thankful that the Topamax works.

    Something I think that still needs to be addressed is medication cost. Now that Imitrex is finally a generic, it still costs $100 (without insurance) for 9 pills! There are a lot of other meds out there that are higher. I just paid $300 for 2 antidepressants(generic)! I cannot live without those! There’s plenty of folks that can’t afford these meds.

    I don’t know if this is something your group could advocate for, but these are my 2 cents.

    THANKS AGAIN for speaking up for us!!

  • Jacqueline
    6 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more with Vicki. Thanks Ellen for advocating for those of us who can’t. I’m a scientist in the healthcare field (neurology) and a chronic migraine sufferer so while I can’t be at this conference in body, I’m definitely there in spirit. Thank you so much for keeping us informed. I am thrilled to hear that this conference exists.

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