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Migraine: More than a headache, it’s a “life-ache”

Those with migraine know that it’s so much more than “just a headache.” Migraine can impact all aspects of life, ranging from relationships to the ability to work. As if managing the never-ending list of (often unavoidable) triggers and the unpredictable nature of migraine wasn’t enough – the stigma of migraine can be overwhelming.


Curious to learn more? View more results from the 2016 Migraine in America survey.

The team at conducted our annual “Migraine in America” survey with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the challenges faced by those with migraines. Over 3,900 people completed our survey.


  • ScottJ
    3 years ago

    I am struck by the fact that weather/barometric pressure is at the top of this list of triggers and essentially no research has been done on this. The second highest listed trigger is smells – also little research on this. With all the research on migraines, why are these not being studied more?

  • ujijin
    3 years ago

    One more thing: The religious among us can have a tendency to offer solace, prayer, or any number of palliative things, but do so in an intrinsically judgmental way…as if my faith has failed; I have unconfessed sin in my life; I’m holding out on God; I’m not praying enough.

    EVERY believer in Christ suffers from these shortcomings! What good is the “Good News” of God’s grace if His people don’t give that grace to each other, especially when “each other” includes migraineurs?

  • ujijin
    3 years ago

    I write this as a pastor of 15 years, and a believer of 48 years. I get it. I really do.

  • ujijin
    3 years ago

    I have all the symptoms mentioned in this study…and the authors are right on about migraines’ effects on important social relationships. I literally become a different person.

    But here’s something interesting, and I’ll call it “The Familiarity Effect”: Most everyone at work gives me a break when I tell them I have a migraine or get them often [10-15 a month, which is truly disabling]. My friends immediately try to console me and tell me that they’re praying for me. Thanks for that.

    But my spouse…my spouse. She reacts with more anger and frustration with every migraine attack. The “Familiarity Effect” is in play now.

    My SO, regardless of her familiarity with the literature and data on migraines, attributes MY attacks to character flaws, poor dietary habits, lack of exercise and generally just not being courageous enough to take life by the horns and handle it LIKE A REAL MAN SHOULD.

    This last time I actually wished that she’d suffer from migraines for 10-15 times within a 30-day period, just so she knows what it’s like.

    As a social scientist, I can say from personal experience guided by expertise: Judgmentalism is a sign of very low empathy and a loneliness that is both self-imposed and self-reinforcing, while it enables the judgmental person to blame others.

  • ujijin
    3 years ago

    …and, for the first time in a long time, after being subjected to another of her diatribes, I slinked away into my dark hole, and considered suicide. I promised my Maker and others that I wouldn’t do that anymore, but the profound pain and sense of loneliness when “The Familiarity Effect” is in full manifestation, left me suffering alone in the dark. Hell could’t be any worse than this, I thought.

    But I was taken out of that hole rather quickly by remembering my God and His promises to me. He makes it all work. For the time being I will suffer. But for eternity I’ll be free from this broken, fleshly “earth suit” and with Him, my transformed body no longer subject to pain and degradation. As the Apostle Paul wrote, [God said] “My grace is enough for you” [to get through this].

  • Revron
    3 years ago

    I’ve had migraines for72 years and have tried just about everything. .Mine are cluster migraines and last for days sometimes. 12-15 monthly.
    I’m trying butternut now and so far it’s very. positive. Will post again in 30 days.

    Thanks for the website, very helpful.


  • Lucifer
    3 years ago

    Hi i am at a higher stage of migrane and i want to know a cure for my insomnia its really a miserable condition. Plz tell a away to resolve it.

  • Gcote
    3 years ago

    First, thanks for creating such a useful website to share and compare our migraine suffering with many others. This support is very important to those suffering with long-term frequent episodes. My wife and I both suffer from migraines. My pain started immediately after a diving head injury at 12 years and my wife at 34 falling to the pavement banging her head. We are both taking triptan medication for frequent migraines after a lifetime of treatments. Thanks for allowing me to share parts of our story.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi there Gcote! First of all…we are so happy to have such supportive and engaging members like yourself to take the time to share a piece of your personal migraine journey and such kind words. Thanks so much for being here and please always feel free to reach out. I am so sorry to hear that both you and wife are living with migraine, however I am sure that it helps having someone by your side who totally understands what you are going through.

    Thanks again for reaching out.

    Joanna ( Team)

  • LindaD24
    3 years ago

    Thank you for such an informative website. I have suffered from migraines since age 11 (I am now 67). I hoped they would stop at menopause, but no. I know I suffer from post-stress migraine and wonder if I am going through a long-term migraine period after many stressors during the last 10 years of my life. The migraines have been occurring more & more frequently and upon a recent visit to my doctor, he suggested that I was overusing a triptan medication (6 per week).I had been waking up with migraine headaches almost every morning for over 2 months. I am currently using amiltryptiline (50 mg dose) at night. Pain seems to have moved into my upper back muscles and when I get an actual migraine, it has moved from being on the left side of my head to the right side. I am trying to survive w/o taking any kind of pain pill, but it is not easy. Have had corisone injections, chiropractic care, massage etc. Also have neck pain. It really does affect my quality of life. It would be wonderful to be pain free.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi LindaD24, we’re glad that you found us and that you find the site helpful. Have you visited out Facebook page yet?

    You mentioned that you are experiencing neck pain prior to a migraine. I thought you might be interested in reading Cervicogenic Headache. Hopefully, it provides some useful information and maybe some talking points to take to your doctor.

    We’re glad that you’re part of the community. -All Best, Donna ( team)

  • Trevcrawf
    3 years ago

    My wife has severe migraines were she is out of it for about 5/6 days no food drink being sick when moves. I find her migraines are brougt on by smells Is there an operation to take the sense of smell away. We are desperate. This month she been out of it 20 out of 28 days. :-(.

  • mrst53
    3 years ago

    I am also in a similar situation, so I know almost how you feel. I have had these stupid migraines since I was 12 and I am now 62. That’s 52 years. I know what foods cause them and I have eliminated those, but I can’t stop the weather and I can’t stop the stress. I do get some pain shots in my face, and that helps some of them, but not all. These last 2 weeks have been miserable. My husband tries to understand, but it’s hard for him, because he is in deep depression himself with PTSD from Viet Nam. I just want a cure. My doc says next year maybe there will be a drug for the weather migraine, that’s a big MAYBE. Just don’t give up. Things have to get better.

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi mrst53, Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with migraine as well as your words of hope. I’m sorry you’ve been living with migraine for 52 years. It sounds like you’ve worked really hard to figure out what your triggers are and have been able to avoid those that are in your control. We share your hope for a cure – especially for triggers that are beyond one’s control such as weather. In the meantime, please come here anytime for support. We appreciate you being part of the community. Warmly, Brooke ( team)

  • Bergie
    3 years ago

    MY mygraines HAVE PLAGUED
    MY LIFE.since I can remember. They are a dibilitated wall that prevent me to live a product and happy life. I am now 59 years old they are still causing havoc . I am exhausted from the battle and so is my body which has suffered over the years with the use of countless
    neurologists,acupuncturists,meditation ,hypnosis . I am tired of the pain,lost opportunities,lost friendships skipped engagments and broken relationships . Severely depressed,confused and anxious . My life is alien compared to that of a happy migraine free human.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi, Bergie, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such a difficult time. First I want to tell you that you are not alone. We are always here to share information, support or just to listen. If you are in immediate danger, we’d urge you to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline
    1-800-273-8255. If you prefer you can chat with someone online.

    I know that it’s frustrating and very disheartening thinking about another doctor. Please read How Are Migraine Specialists Different? to see how a specialists may be able to help where others have not. If you think that may be helpful, please read Is It Time For a New Migraine Doctor? for help in locating one in your area.

    I would also invite you to visit our Facebook page. We’re glad that you’re here, and thank you for sharing your story. -Warmly, Donna { team)

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