While researchers and doctors around the world work tirelessly to learn and discover more about migraine headaches, there are still many widely-held myths about this chronic brain disorder. At the minimum, these myths can be demoralizing or harmful for the patients who are interested in a good care and treatment. Even worse, they can even foster perpetuate false information and foster widespread misunderstanding about the disease. To put all these myths to rest, we’ve tried out best in this article.
So what are these myths?
Migraine is just another name of a headache
No, migraine is actually a neurological disorder where structural or functional changes may occur in the brain. In addition, it’s also a polysymptomatic disease with headache as just one, and not the only feature, of migraine. It’s often accompanied with nausea, sensitivity to light, odor and sound, vertigo, difficulty in thinking or concentrating clearly and some neurological issues such as numbness, visual disturbances, language and speech impairment, or weakness.
There’s no medication to treat my migraine
If you’re suffering from recurring migraine attacks, you know during attack it feels like nothing can touch the pain. You may have tried everything under the sun to “wait it out”. In the end, it can be a helpless feeling. Keep in mind that you’re on a journey, along with a headache specialist or your doctor, to find a suitable treatment regime that can be effective for you your headache. Though migraine cure is still elusive, but we have many treatment options and are also on way to discover new and effective treatment options.
All headaches can be called migraines
While the word “headache” may seem like catch-all umbrella term, there can be different kinds of headaches. In fact, there is international classification for various headache disorders that can be used by doctors to measure headache pain, and American Migraine Foundation has created their own exclusive guide to help people suffering from migraine determine exactly the type of headache they’ve been experiencing. Migraine is distinct from other headaches due to its severity, duration and accompanying symptoms.
Migraine is due to my fault
Well, the reality is that your migraine is due to genetics. So you’re not at fault when a migraine attack strikes. Anxiety, stress and depression may seem like big triggers that you can try to control, but its impossible to control all the factors that may contribute to those feelings, and some of the triggers cannot be avoided.
Migraine cannot be managed if you’re pregnant
Though some medications to treat migraine may not be available for pregnant women due to their harmful effects on developing fetus and mother, there are many safe alternatives. The best approach is to talk to your headache specialist or neurologist about available options and best treatment plan suitable for you. Though it’s more complicated one than before, but migraine is definitely manageable.
By increasing migraine medicine intake, I can have better control over my migraine
There won’t be any benefit of increasing your migraine medication; it may actually make your attacks worse. Many suffering from migraine complain of “rebound headaches,” but actual medical term for that phenomenon is known as Medication Overuse Headache. Taking lot of migraine mediation to treat headaches may lead to more severe and frequent attacks in the future, which are mostly difficult to treat.
Caffeine is the cause of my migraine
Well, caffeine is not always the culprit. It’s in fact used in many headache medications. For many migraine patients, caffeinated drinks like soda or coffee helps alleviate head pain. The key to use caffeine to your benefit is to use it only when needed and avoid its overuse to control headaches.
All supplements that claim to prevent migraine are completely safe and effective
There is clear evidence that some nutraceuticals/supplements are effective and safe in reducing frequency of migraine attacks. Coenzyme Q10, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and magnesium may be effective. It’s best to consult a headache specialist or a doctor and they can guide you about best supplements that you can integrate in your treatment regime.
A special diet plan can cure migraine
There are many foods that trigger migraine, including gluten, alcohol, histamine and monosodium glutamate containing goods, cheese and chocolate. Many migraine patients try to eliminate these foods, but there are so many foods so eliminating all of them is not possible and may in fact be unhealthy. But it’s a fact that there is no silver bullet diet to cure migraine because each body handles food differently. The best approach for you is to identify your triggers and avoid them during high-risk periods.
You must have an aura for it to be a migraine
This is not true. You can even have migraine without an aura. Whether you experience an aura phase or not may matter when it comes to choosing treatment options, so make sure you keep track of whether or not you experience any aura symptoms in your headache diary.
There are many other migraine myths well past the ones listed above. To help tune out all irrelevant noise online, stick only to reputable websites, and make sure you consult your doctor if you have any questions.