Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Demon Migraine - Part I

We have a grim but important topic today: Migraines. I've got them. So do a lot of other people.

The condition is more significant and more detrimental than most people realize. Many people equate the word “migraine” to “a headache”, when actually it is a syndrome that can seriously impact a person’s well-being, sometimes for his or her entire life.

Percent of population reporting migraine Source

The World Health Organization tells us that migraine sufferers are found on every continent, and include both genders, and all social classes, ages, and ethnicities of people. According to various statistics quoted on WebMD, 28 million people in the U.S. have migraine (and more than 300 million world-wide), and each one suffers not only the pain and associated physical symptoms of the headaches, but also potentially experiences difficult relationships, social isolation, challenges finding or keeping employment, financial loss, and other health issues resulting from chronic pain.

Migraine also translates to a huge loss to society through missed school and work days: a study several years ago estimated the financial impact to business at $13 billion annually.

Interesting historical figures such as Van Gogh and Monet, and Lewis Carrol and Edgar Allen Poe, were reportedly migraineurs.

Migraine explains a lot (source)

Today, migraine sufferers can be found everywhere, including the entertainment industry, professional sports, politics, your neighborhood, your place of business, and of course, your family.

When I was a teenager I felt lucky that I hadn’t inherited my mom’s migraine condition, which put her in bed for more than a day with each episode, and afterwards left her nauseous and hyper-sensitive to light, sound, and smell. My best friend’s migraines were so violent and disabling that she had to spend up to a week in the hospital on an IV drip to recover each time. Even then I didn't realize how awful the condition really was.

Do you or someone you know have migraines?

More next week in Part II.



  1. Oh, so sorry Katrina. I get them. They're the devil!

  2. Well, that is bad news. Misery definitely does not love company in this case. I always feel so bad when I hear of another person who has them.
    Sorry about that, and I hope you're able to manage them.

  3. So sorry to hear that you inherited your mom's condition after all. Were you the same age at onset?

    I used to get severe tension headaches, which I naively assumed were as bad as a migraine without the aura, until I actually got a migraine.

    I've had two so far, about a year apart. The first one lasted about 48 hours and I was so sick that it took another 48 to feel normal again. The second lasted about 36 hours, and recovery was less than a day. My doctor told me that if I go to the hospital at the onset she will medicate me and the duration would be much less, but I can't imagine being anywhere other than in my bed.

    Here's hoping that they stay away, for both of us!
    xo, Anita

  4. Oh my. What is it with us? Seems like everyone I meet is dealing with this problem.

    Sometimes I think the frustration of having life interrupted is actually worse than the constant pain. I guess it's about even.

    I didn't start until late 20's, while my mom had them even as a child!

    More ugly details to come!