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June is National Migraine Awareness Month

What is Migraine? Too many people don’t know what a Migraine is or that Migraine is really a disease. June is National Migraine Awareness Month (NMAW), sponsored by the National Headache Foundation. The goal of this year’s campaign, More Than Just a Headache, is educating the public on the personal and societal costs of Migraine while providing resources for the 37 million American Migraineurs and their families.

Serene Branson, the CBS reporter whose on-air episode of Migraine-induced aphasia while reporting the Grammy Awards attracted a great deal of attention, has partnered with the National Headache Foundation to help raise awareness and is speaking candidly and passionately about her own Migraines and increased awareness. For more about Serene and her involvement, see An Interview with Migraine Advocate Serene Branson

Consider these facts:

  • Every day approximately 430,000 people are unable to work due to Migraines, equaling about 157 million workdays lost annually.
  • Nine out of 10 migraine sufferers report they can’t “function normally” during days in which a migraine strikes, and nearly three in 10 require bed rest.
  • Industry loses $31 billion per year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses associated to this neurological disorder.
  • According to a World Health Organization analysis, migraine alone is responsible for at least one percent of the total US medical disability burden, and severe migraine attacks are as disabling as quadriplegia.
  • Migraine is the 12th most disabling disorder in the US.
  • The stigma that remains attached to Migraine is so strong that participants in a study about Migraine and stigma scored higher on the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness than a mixed panel of patients with chronic neurologic diseases – stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s disease.

Helping ourselves:

All of us who have Migraines or care about someone who does have a vested interest in Migraine awareness. Increased awareness and reduced burden and stigma would improve our lives significantly. Sometimes, it seems as if one person can’t possibly make a difference, but we can. Here are some things we can do on a daily basis:

  • Don’t call a Migraine a “headache.” Call it what it is, a Migraine or “Migraine attack.”
  • When you encounter people who don’t understand, take a few minutes to explain to them that Migraine is “More Than Just a Headache,” that’s it’s a genetic neurological disease that has many implications for us, including increased risk of stroke. Then refer them to resources for sound information such as Migraine.com.
  • Reach out to other Migraineurs who need help. Let them know they’re not alone and encourage them to find a good doctor to work with so they get the help they deserve.

This month:

In addition to the suggestions above, take a minute to go to the NHF site and share your “Migraine Moment.” While you’re there, check out the information on their regional conferences, and consider becoming a member of the NHF. Just visit their NMAW page.

Migraine is absolutely More Than Just a Headache. During National Migraine Awareness Month, let’s make a special effort to share that face with others and raise awareness of Migraine and its impact.

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

National Migraine Awareness Month: More Than Just a Headache. National Headache Foundation. 2011. • Fact Sheet. “Headache Disorders in the United States.” Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. • Park J.E.; Kempner J.; Young W.B. "The Stigma of Migraine." Poster presentation. 52nd annual meeting of the American Headache Society. Los Angeles. June, 2010.

Comments

  • Joan Lewter
    8 years ago

    I MIGRAINES EVERY DAY AND IT IS REALLY HARD TO LIVE WITH THESES THINGS. I WOULD NOT WISH THIS ON NO ONE. MY LIFE HAS CHANGED SO MUCH IN PAST THREE YEARS SINCE I STARTED HAVING THEM EVERYDAY. I CAN ONLY DRIVE WHEN I DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDICINE. I WAS USED TO GOING AND GETTING MY FRIEND AND WE COULD SPEND THE DAY OUT. I COULD EVEN GO GET MY GRAND KIDS AS MUCH AS I WANTED AND SPEND TIME WITH THEM GOING SKATING AN SWIMMING IN THE SUMMER. IT REALLY BOTHERS ME THAT I CAN NOT DO A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT I USED TOO. MOST OF MY GRAND KIDS UNDERSTAND AND MY KIDS DO. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE DONE OUR BEST TO FIND A CURE BUT I KNOW NOW THERE IS NO CURE. THIS IS SOMETHING I WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE BUT I AM GLAD TO KEEP THE PAIN BECAUSE I WOULD NOT WISH THIS ON ANY ONE. I AM SORRY FOR ALL OF YOU HURTING. I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU ALL. THE DOCTOR IS GIVING SHOTS IN MY NECK TO TRY AND BLOCK THE PAIN IN MY HEAD BUT SO FAR THIS HAS NOT HELPED IT JUST MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I DO NOT WANT ANYONE AROUND ME AT ALL. I DO NOT LIKE THAT FEELING. THE DOCTOR HAS GOT ME ON SELVILLA AND PAIN KILLERS PLUS MUSCLE RELAXERS. IF I WAIT TO LONG THEN I AM SO SICK THAT GOING TO GET A SHOT IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL HELP. THERE HAS BEEN NIGHTS I HAVE WALKED THE FLOOR AND AND JUST FELT LIKE BANGING MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL IF IT WOULD HELP, BUT I KNOW IT WOULD NOT. I EVEN TOLD MY HUSBAND TO GET HIM SOME ONE NEW SO HE COULD GET OUT AND DO MOE STUFF WITH THAT IS HOW BAD I HAVE THEM. THEY ARE TELLING ME THAT I HAVE GOOD OLD AUTHUR IN MY NECK AND BONE SPURS IN MY NECK AND THAT MAKES THEM WORSE. EVERYONE HAVE A GREAT DAY. I KNOW I WILL JUST AS SOON AS I CAN GET SOME REST.

  • Tami Marie Cross
    8 years ago

    awesome site thanks for all the info!

  • Sherrill Turner
    8 years ago

    I have had migraine for over 15 yrs! I have tried and failed many prevention medication. Some made me physically ill. Others made my hair fall out or gave me such awful hot flashes I would drip buckets of sweat. I was just recently hospitalized at the university of Michigan hospital. They ruled out aneurysm but nothing helped for my head! My co-workers are upset with me so it makes it tense for me to go to work. They say they get migraine and don’t have the trouble I have. I work for a Doctor so I hope not to loose my job over these. Have considered disability but it wont pay the bills. I go to work everyday with some form of headace. My sister in law beloved I bring these on my self! I can’t tell you how awful that made me feel. Dr Edward Messina is my last hope of help. Can’t see him as often as I need to due to missing work. Anyone in the Michigan area should see him. He is wonderful and totally about helping you get your life back.

  • Maurice Hogue
    8 years ago

    For five years now, my daughter has suffered from migraine disease. Hers began after a time of heavy stress in her life, but it continued to consume her life and still does. I can’t count the number of medications she has had and I am sure she has lost count by now. Some of them helped for a while, some of them didn’t do anything. She missed a lot of work; enough that she is filing for intermittent FMLA to make certain she keeps her job. Without her job, she will not be able to keep her home. Her husband is wonderful and treats her as such. He has spent many, many hours suffering along with her and hunting for a cure. Our lives have all been affected. She cannot go to movies any more, she can only read when her head allows her to do so, we plan outings only having to cancel at the last minute because she was hit with a sudden migraine. As her mother, I can only stand by and watch and research with her. I can’t cure them, but more than once I have missed the company of my daughter. Migraine affects every part of your life and every part of the lives of those who love you. Yes, she has a severe migraine condition and most of every month is spent in pain for her. Yet, she struggles through and does what is necessary to live and enjoy that portion of life that she is able to enjoy. Each moment she is without migraine is a treasure for me and for her. Migraine is serious.

  • Julie Davis
    8 years ago

    Migraines are the death of me.. Been suffering from migraines got over 10 years.. I average 3/4 migraines a month.. They are classified from stress or menstrual or hormonal.. My dr. gives me shot treatments.. Fast relief that kicks it.. I hate having to withdraw from my family.. My bedroom is called my cave.. Dark and cold. Please share the meds that are a pain relief.. Take care everyone!

  • Joan Lewter
    8 years ago

    ABOUT THE BULLET IT WOULD BE MY LUCK I WOULD LIVE THUR IT AND STILL HAVE MIGRAINES.

  • Teri Robert
    8 years ago

    Julie, there are now over 100 medications that can be used for Migraine prevention, so you have lots of options. Do NOT have a hysterectomy unless you need to for other reasons. I was just at a conference and learned that Migraines get worse for 2/3 of women who have a hysterectomy. I couldn’t take Topamax, but can take Zonegran, which is the same type of drug. Keep working with your doctor. If your doctor can’t help, find a real Migraine specialist. Just don’t give up. There IS help out there.

  • Teri Robert
    8 years ago

    Julie, there are lots of options for preventives. There are over 100 medications in use for Migraine prevention, so don’t give up!

  • Julie Davis
    8 years ago

    Thx Sheri for feeling bad for me.. Thanks Teri for any comment.. I actually was on Topamax, but go immuned to it, so I think.. Plus that stuff makes me sooo miseable til I get use to it .. But I may have to give it another try .. Only cut my migraines down to 2/3 a month.. I have heard that maybe a partial hystericemy may help.. Benydrl may help.. When it’s bad , I think a bullet is the only choice ..

  • Teri Robert
    8 years ago

    Julie, have you talked with your doctor about preventive treatment? Preventives work to reduce both the frequency and severity of Migraines. take a look at Migraine Management Essential 4: Preventive Treatment at http://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/

  • Sheri Weatherford Rogers
    8 years ago

    Sorry my friend

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