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Unsolicited advice

I’ve found the more I learn about Migraine disease–what it is and what it is not–the stronger my tendency to deliver unsolicited advice to strangers and friends alike.

Just tonight, a friend mentioned “headaches from acute sinusitis.” My first instinct was to respond with, “Did you think they were sinus headaches? Did your doctor say they were? Sinus headache is actually not a valid diagnosis. You could be having Migraines.”

My friend (and former professor) has been getting terrible, debilitating headaches more and more in the last couple of years. One of her nicknames is “The Human Barometer.” All we informed migraineurs know this is a huge indication she’s probably suffering from Migraines: debilitating pain that makes her sensitive to ordinarily tolerable stimuli, getting awful pain each time the barometric pressure shifts? A self-diagnosis of hypoglycemia because the pain rears its ugly head each time she misses a meal? She sure sounds like a candidate for Migraine disease diagnosis.

I’ve eagerly pushed for her to see her doctor to discuss a possible Migraine diagnosis, but, last I heard, she wasn’t buying my argument. I felt I was physically restraining myself from pummeling her with a long list of signs and indications that one might be getting Migraine attacks. I tried to keep it easy, but I wanted to cry, “I love you! I hate that you’re hurting! I think I know the first step to getting you better: figuring out for sure what you have!”

My sister has been getting Migraine-like headaches recently. Her over the counter painkillers aren’t fitting the bill, and when she describes the headaches they sure do sound like Migraine. With a family brimming with Migraine sufferers plus a history of childhood headache, she sure is built for adult Migraine disease. But, as yet, she’s not gotten a diagnosis. I want to force her to go to the doctor to figure this out; if it is Migraine, there’s probably an acute treatment she can give herself when in pain. She doesn’t have to suffer!

I always stop myself. I hate sounding preachy. This is one of the reasons I have proclaimed myself “The Migraine Girl”–I feel sometimes I am speaking from the standpoint of someone whose whole mission is to cut down on Migraine frequency and severity for myself and others. I want to spread the word, to share the gospel. But, in truth, a lot of people don’t want to hear it. And I should respect that.

I wonder if anyone reading this has had trouble with this: seeing the signs in other folks but not wanting to go off on your Migraine disease diatribe.

Anywho. That’s all.

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.


  • Julie
    11 years ago

    I like your advice, keep spreading the word and educating people. Your advice in March was helpful and made me feel “validated”, since I don’t have personal contact with headache sufferers here. Oh, and I, too, try to educate about migraine with people, especially people I work with (including a boy who gets bad headaches regularly and is sick to his stomach. He misses school frequently and I’m trying to get his mom to take him to the doctor and to consider migraine as a diagnosis). But as for my relatively minor headaches, I went to the doctor a month ago and he suggested that I start using Nasonex again, believing that this could help. (I’d been using it off and on for years, but had taken myself off of it because it is so expensive, but this time my dr. gave me a bunch of samples). It could be a coincidence, but I’ve not had any more headaches!

  • Megan Oltman
    11 years ago

    I think there’s a crowd of us proseletizers out here. I know what you mean – I worry about pushing, too. But if we didn’t stand up for the people we love, well… who will. I think it’s not a bad idea to say just what you said, “I love you and I hate to see you hurting…” And I suspect you’d have to have a personality transplant to be really pushy. Real pushy people never worry about it.
    – Megan

  • Marijke
    11 years ago

    And sometimes it’s the other way around.

    Several years ago, I had what I thought was a migraine that was lasting for weeks. I felt horrible and nothing I did could make the pain go away. ONe day, it clicked all of a sudden that I likely had a sinus infection.
    Sure enough, I had a *nasty* one since it had been brewing for so long but a few days on antibiotics finally helped the pressure and pain ease off.

    It was because I was so used to having migraines that I automatically assumed that was what it was. It’s funny how you get so used to something that you may not even entertain the thought of it being anything else.

  • Eileen
    11 years ago

    Yes, I’ve been there. I think sometimes it’s easier for people to accept “sinus headaches” then a neurological disorder.

    I say, I’d rather not have pain and a correct diagnosis with medications that work, but that’s just me.

    I too want to spread the word of migraine. I do get a little preachy too sometimes, but when it’s something that you live with and you research all the time, you can’t help but want to share your knowledge.

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