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Quality of Life is More Important Than Quantity of Migraine Attacks

A friend’s husband told me he has migraine attacks every Saturday and Sunday. “It could be worse,” he said, “but this is no way to live.” At the time, it was a small miracle that I was even able to leave the house. I would have been thrilled to have migraine attacks confined to the weekends. Instead of saying this, I took a couple deep breaths. I reminded myself that this man’s migraine frequency causes him great distress and that his struggles are entirely independent of mine.

My philosphy on migraine advocacy

I kept thinking of this story as I wrote High-Frequency Episodic Migraine is Similar to Chronic Migraine. That conversation with my friend’s husband shaped a philosophy I try to live by in my migraine advocacy work:

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As long as you feel like migraine is affecting your ability to live a normal life, your migraine attacks are too frequent. It doesn’t matter if you have one attack a day, one a week, one a month, or one a year.

Any number of interruptions to life is too many

Online migraine communities are a source of strength and comfort for so many people who feel lost or alone, but they can also skew one’s perspective of migraine. All the patient advocates I can think of have (or have had) chronic migraine. Many patients who engage online are also chronic. It makes sense; when you have chronic migraine, it tends to play a huge role in your life.

Unfortunately, this slant toward chronic migraine leaves some people with episodic migraine feeling like their problems aren’t serious or important. That’s absolutely not true. No matter how frequent or severe your migraine attacks are, if you feel like they’re interrupting your life, you’re having too many.

Each experience should be respected

A woman once commented on the Faceboook page that she has two migraine attacks a month and that when one ends it's time for another to begin. Someone else responded, “Two migraines a month? That’s nothing. Try 20 a month. You have no idea how bad migraine can be.” Whether or not someone who has two migraine attacks a month knows what it’s like to have chronic migraine is irrelevant. If some feels like two attacks a month constitute a huge problem, then they do. No one else’s experience with migraine needs to come into play.

Quantity of migraine attacks doesn’t matter; quality of life does.

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.

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