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Is anyone offended to hear migraine is “Just a headache”?!

Does it infuriate anyone else when someone calls a migraine a “headache”? It didn’t bother me in the past, but as I’ve gotten worse over the last few years, hearing that ignorant reference just grinds every last nerve I have. I can understand if it’s a stranger who is completely unaware of the situation, but when family and friends who have seen your ongoing battles with this horrible disease minimize it to “just a headache,” it feels like salt in an open wound. Even my own partner, who gets migraines himself, calls them “headaches.” I don’t yell and scream at people who do this or sit and obsess over it, but in the moment it happens, I can’t help seeing red and gritting my teeth while saying, “It’s NOT a headache.” Am I overreacting or does anyone else take offense to this as well?

Community Answers
  • LizShelton author
    1 year ago

    Honestly I’ve given up on doctors (there aren’t even any neurologists or headache specialists in my area) and trying to educate people or make them understand. If they want to remain ignorant, there’s not much I can do about that. It’s nice to know I’m not alone but it also stinks knowing so many other people are going through this nightmare. As hopeless as it seems some days, I’m just going to keep hoping something changes and we get a break – a miracle treatment, or a miraculous recovery, or the miraculous sudden understanding of our loved ones. Whatever helps 🙂 Thank you all for your feedback; it’s much appreciated!

  • bonanna22
    1 year ago

    You are definitely not alone. I am currently on day 6 of a migraine, and my mother who has episodic migraines, keeps saying “oh, your head’s just sore” or “it’s just an allergy headache, everyone has one right now”. She’s seen me battle through and try ignore migraines and watched my symptoms get worse since I was 11. I rarely get “headaches”, and when I do, ninety percent of the time it they turn into migraines, she knows this! I even had a neuro who kept referring to them as headaches and brushed me off when I said I was having side effects from my abortive. I found a new neuro rather quickly. It’s a very annoying thing to have your family, caretaker, or doctor call them headaches, especially when they have all been sitting in that doctor’s office with you at one point.

  • FarmerWife17
    1 year ago

    You are not alone! I hate when anyone calls it a headache but it is even worse when you hear it from a family member, especially those who also suffer from them but don’t get them as bad or as frequently as I do! Most of the time I respond with “I wish it was just a headache”

  • Douglas
    1 year ago

    I “happily” remind them that my migraines are silent — no pain. I have familial hemiplegic migraines, so it looks like I am having a stroke. I know that I am very fortunate to not have pain, but I still make sure that people know that migraines are not “just a headache”.

  • resterak
    1 year ago

    It bothers me to no end when people call a migraine a headache. I have wondered for a long time if anyone else felt like that. My husband and kids have done that and there is a look that I give them and they know that they said the wrong word. I just switched my PCP due to him not believing that people can have/get migraines and he always likes to downplay migraines to make it out like there headaches.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi LizShelton,

    Yes – you’re not alone! We’re trying very hard to take the word headache out of migraine disease. Let me share this article with you from Dr. Young, a leading migraine disease and headache disorder expert;

    Let me know what you think,

  • Luna
    1 year ago

    I always say no it is a neurological brain dysfunction that causes a whole body experience. I refuse to let people call it a headache. It bothers me when people commenting on this site refer to migraine as headache. We can be our own worst enemies if we use incorrect terminology.

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