Let's Stop Blaming Ourselves for Causing Our Migraines

Chronic migraine is a complicated neurological condition. It is not comparable to allergies. I am allergic to pollen. Pollen triggers my allergic reaction. The symptoms are ordinary and predictable. I can take an antihistamine, and the symptoms will be relieved to at least some degree.

Certain environmental events might aggravate my chronic migraine symptoms. Yet, there are times when those same events do not aggravate my symptoms. I do not know why and neither do the doctors. Heat might aggravate my migraine symptoms. Sometimes, unusual stress or strong emotions are followed by especially bad symptoms.. Sometimes, all is well and life could not be better, and, boom, I will get a sudden full blown debilitating migraine attack on my body. It has happened many times while I was on vacation and enjoying myself greatly or at home and totally relaxed.

I believe that those of us with chronic or episodic migraine and our health care providers are wrong to refer to “triggers” for making our symptoms worse. That line of thinking reduces migraine to a health issue as simple as allergies. Allergic reactions are well understood and treatable. We should be referring to what “aggravates” our symptoms and acknowledge that migraine symptoms are caused by a dysfunction of our nervous system. We have no control over it. At best, we can hope to be able to recognize aggravates and keep them in mind as we make decisions about our daily lives.

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