18 things not to say to a person with migraine

18 Things Not to Say to a Person with Migraine

You responded to our original Things not to say article with more frustrating comments you’ve heard from misinformed people about migraines. So we've included them in our updated graphics below.

Things not to say to a person with migraine

Although lowering stress levels is good for anyone, this will not eliminate our attacks which are both genetic and neurologic in nature. Saying this will cause additional stress to us though, because we have enough to deal with in our lives without feeling guilty and judged by those we care the most about.
View the original post by Ellen.

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Does stress impact the frequency or severity of your migraines?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

Chronic migraineurs use an enormous amount of energy trying to look as normal as possible, and we want to know that we have been successful. However this statement sounds condescending and judgmental to the chronically ill — as if we must not have a real disease because you cannot look at us and see the ravages it has caused in our lives.

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What type of migraine do you experience?


Things not to say to a person with migraine

While modifying one’s diet can help eliminate certain triggers and help prevent migraine attacks, there is no diet to cure or prevent migraine.

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Do changes in diet impact your migraines?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

A standard headache may only last a few hours, but a migraine attack can actually last several days, which can have a severe impact on a person’s everyday life.

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What's the longest you've experienced throbbing pain during a migraine attack?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

Migraine, especially chronic migraine is one of the worst kinds of pain there is, and is often undertreated enough to cause disability to the patient.

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Is the numerical pain scale an effective way to measure pain?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

Clinical depression and migraine are both primary (not caused by anything else) diseases involving neurotransmitters such as Serotonin. While it is common for clinical depression and migraine to be comorbid — especially chronic Migraine — it is certainly normal for anyone with a chronic disease to become depressed as a result of their experience and should be expected as a normal result of the patient’s illness.

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Do you think you\'ve experienced symptoms of depression?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

A migraine attack is nothing like a regular headache. Migraines can involve severe, stabbing pain, nausea, vomiting, hypersensitivity of the senses, among many other symptoms. Migraines can also last for days and standard analgesics are often ineffective.

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Do you experience nausea or vomiting during your migraine attacks?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

It’s difficult to imagine anyone who would want to continue to have migraine attacks, so it can be particularly insulting when a person assumes you aren’t making an effort to get better. In fact, many migraineurs feel like they’ve tried EVERYTHING, including over-the-counter treatments, holistic medicine, prescription medications, acupuncture, and every “fad” diet that exists. 

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

You might not realize that most chronic migraineurs take preventive medicine every day. No two patients are alike, and what works for one will not work for another.

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Have you talked to a doctor about preventive treatment options for migraines?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

Actually, it’s not. Migraine is a systemic disease that affects nearly every part of our bodies, from digestive to circulatory to endocrine, to nervous system. Chronic pain eventually results in central sensitization and allodynia that causes severe pain throughout our entire bodies.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

Please, let’s not take this back to the dark ages when epilepsy was “demon possession” and “hysterical” women with tight corsets suffered “the vapors”. Men experience migraine, too.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

If you break your arm, will getting a hobby make your pain go away? Of course it won’t. Yet a migraine makes a broken bone look like fun at the circus.

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Does physical activity trigger your migraines?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

While Migraineurs want to know that our loved ones are thinking about us and want to help us, the chance that you have stumbled upon a miraculous treatment or “cure” that our specialists — or we who have suffered terribly with this disease — have not, is miniscule beyond measure.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

While exercise is sometimes helpful for Migraineurs when they are not in the midst of an attack, chronic Migraine often means back to back attacks that leave the patient no time to go outside or exercise. Additionally, exercise is frequently a trigger for Migraine attacks, especially in those who are chronic.

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Do migraines limit your ability to exercise?

Things not to say to a person with migraine

A migraine is also not “just a headache,” and a severe attack can even render a person unable to get out of bed, let alone go for a walk.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

Dehydration is a known trigger of migraines, but it is not the only thing that can cause a migraine attack. Remembering to drink plenty of fluids, especially during the warm summer months, is critical to staying hydrated, yet this is only one piece of the puzzle in preventing a migraine attack.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

This can be hurtful to anyone, regardless of religious beliefs. While prayer to any god or deity can play a part in a person’s overall health, there is no single treatment, behavior, or action that can serve as the cure-all for migraine.

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Things not to say to a person with migraine

Unfortunately, this is not true. Though rare, migrainous stroke takes the lives of patients every year. Migraine — especially chronic migraine — has been found to be tightly correlated with other serious or even potentially fatal health issues, and often it is the combination that is deadly.

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Have you had symptoms similar to a stroke?

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