Migraine is not just a headache and here are the reasons why that’s the case. You’d be surprised at how a complex migraine can be. So, next time, think twice before you dismiss someone’s condition when suffering from it.
1. Pain Severity
Some people assume that a migraine is like a bad headache. However, what they don’t realize is that migraine is often a combination of throbbing or pulsating sensation, like your head is about to explode and a sharp stabbing or burning pain.
2. Pain Location
People suffering from migraine often feel the pain on one side of their head. Though some experiences it on their entire head, they’d still feel it more on one side where the pain can be anywhere the eyes, sinuses, ears, or face.
3. Pain That Worsens As You Move
Ever notice how those who suffer from migraine try to stay still? That’s because even the tiniest movement aggravate the pain that they’re experiencing. This is unlike having a headache wherein despite your discomfort; you can still do your day to day activities.
4. Nausea And Vomiting
You don’t vomit because of a bad headache. But with migraine where nausea is a symptom, vomiting becomes a part of the ordeal which is never pleasant. Sometimes, patients lose so much weight because they’re too nauseated to eat.
5. Sense Hypersensitivity
When you have a bad headache, as long as your surrounding is relatively peaceful you’re fine. But when you have a migraine, everything is too much for you. Lights are too bright, sounds are too loud, odors are too strong and touch is irritating during a migraine.
6. So Many Other Symptoms
A bad headache means pain in the head. However, when you have a migraine, pain is accompanied with any of these symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sense hypersensitivity, vertigo, difficulty finding words, numbness or tingling in the face or extremities, partial paralysis, frequent urination, brain fog, changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Sometimes it’s even a combination of these symptoms, so, no, migraine is not “just a headache”.
7. Attack That Can Last For Hours Or Days
Did you know that a typical migraine attack can last between four and 72 hours? Not only that, it even have four stages:
- 1st Stage: Prodromal Phase: Early Warning Signs (irritable, thirsty, sleepy with a lot of yawning, the need to pee more often)
- 2nd Stage: Aura Phase: Strange Feeling Starts (Changes in vision, skin sensation)
- 3rd Stage: Attack Phase: Excruciating Pain Begins (usually above the eyes, typically on one side of the head, tends to feel throbbing, gets worse when you move around, sense hypersensitivity, nausea, vomiting)
- 4th Stage: Postdromal Phase: After It Stops (extreme tiredness, sluggishness, confusion, Head pain that flares up when you lean over, move quickly, or get a rush of blood to the head)
8. OTC Painkillers Are Often Ineffective
With a headache, you’d typically feel better after taking a painkiller. But, with migraine don’t expect relief from pills like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) .
9. Disability And Disease Burden
The thing with migraine that really separates it from a typical headache, aside from the leveled up pain and symptoms, is the fact that patients can’t function normally every time a migraine attack happens. When this happens, going to work or doing simple household chores becomes a struggle which can be a very serious burden for anyone, not only to the person affected but even to the people around them.
10. The Stigma
Partly because migraine is perceived as “just a headache,” people with migraine face a huge stigma in addition to having disabling symptoms. People don’t understand the totally of the condition, so patients of migraine are often misunderstood why they had to miss an important occasion “just because of an headache”, mocked by “exaggerating” the severity of the pain to gain sympathy or attention, or not believed altogether thinking that they’re just “faking a headache” to get out of a situation or responsibility. What many people don’t realize is how debilitating and life disrupting migraine is. Even migraine patients would tell you how they’d give anything to live a chronic pain-free life.
Migraine is not only a very painful condition but also a frustrating one. No one would wish to have it for any reason at all, not even for the reasons stated above. But even if it may seem like it’s a hopeless condition, it’s not entirely helpless. There are some therapies that proved to have helped ease the pain, it’s just important to keep looking for a treatment that works best for you. But probably the safest, surest way to migraine relief is to seek chiropractic care because it’s a great alternative treatment that doesn’t involve drugs or surgery to eliminate the pain but is effective in improving your overall health. Aside from that, it’s best to work with your primary care physician, neurologist, or headache specialist too. With some trial and error, you may find a treatment that finally relieves your pain.