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Please do not call migraine "just a headache"



On the night before my wedding, there were symptoms: the stupid throbbing of my eye turned into a piercing pain in my temple and slowly began to move to the other side of my head. For months, I was worried that one of my most frequent migraines would be on a special day – and this fear gradually becomes a reality.

Fortunately, I was able to repulse the symptoms for most of the day with medicine, but at night they returned worse than before. The next morning, I woke up with one of the hardest migraines I've ever had, feeling that my head was crushed on both sides. It was accompanied by dizziness, nausea and vomiting. I was grateful for the fact that the migraine remained for most of the ceremony and reception, but I eventually had to miss the wedding brunch after dinner, and I did not get the opportunity to say goodbye to the guests who were living outside the city.

Not only was I in tears because of severe pain, but I was worried about what everyone thought. What should I do if I go out as inappropriate or rude? What should I do if everyone thought I was dramatically losing it because of an awkward headache?

"It's hard to understand what a migraine really looks like without it," says Kevin Weber, associate professor of headache neurology department. Medical Center Weixner, Ohio, told me.

Migraines are depleted; they are not just small headaches. But people often do not understand it and believe that migraine is not a big problem. It can not be further from the truth.

"It is difficult to understand what a migraine really looks like without such."

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1; Kevin Weber, Associate Professor at the Department of Neurology at the Department of Headache, University of Ohio. Medical Center

About 12 percent of the American population is suffering from migraine (18 percent of women and 6 percent of men), according to . And more than 90 percent of the sufferers can not function normally when they have an attack.

"Migraine is subject to the same bias as all patients with pain. It's hard for people to understand why you're not able to do your usual routine activities when they do not see anything physical about you, "said Meredith Barad, associate professor of the Department of Anesthesia and Neurology at Stanford Clinic. Migraines are usually longer and more severe than other headaches. It can last from 4 to 72 hours and may include sensitivity to light and sound; nausea; or vomiting, according to Barad. There may also be neck pain, cognitive impairment, and sensitivity to smell.

The first time I had migraine, I was in college and I did not have the idea of ​​what I was experiencing. I hurt so much that my mother came to me and took me to a doctor. The doctor gave me pain medication and I slept two days straight until he walked away. Despite the fact that after that I had many headaches, I did not start migraines again a few years ago – and they were more serious than the first, and became frequent. Weber said that migraines are most common in women during childbearing years, and in men from the late childhood to the 50's. Both genetic and environmental factors can determine when someone starts to get migraines and how often they get them. For me personally, genetics is the greatest factor. My grandfather often suffered from migraine, and my cousin, who was in my age, began to experience them at about the same time as me.

Migraines are also often caused by lifestyle related triggers.

"Many patients have different triggers," Weber said in an e-mail message. Alissa Scheller / HuffPost (red wine, MSG, processed foods, age-old cheeses)

After several years of working with frequent migraines, I changed my daily habits and behavior. If I go somewhere early or abandoned, it's probably because I have a migraine. If I refuse a drink, it's because I I do not want to cause exhausting pain. I always carry around a bottle of water and snacks in a purse I sleep a lot (usually 9-10 hours a day.) I do not wear perfume in the house or use air fresheners. If I seem to be particularly tired or out of it, then probably because my brain is foggy with migraines or of the medicines used for the treatment I do not often cry, but when I do this, it is usually because I have a painful migraine.

My husband saw me suffering from a very migraine, what he can say when I start to get one. He will warm the mask for the eyes, turn off the light, give me a head massage and do everything he can to help, because he knows how to paralyze them. It is these little things and insights from loved ones that helped me to go through them.

For people who are suffering from migraine or for those who want to understand them more, Barad has suggested looking for resources from the American Migraine Foundation and the National

And if you have a loved one who is experiencing migraine, "ask them what they are experiencing and experiencing an open mind, "Weber said. "It's not just a headache."

"Life with" is a guide for navigational conditions that affect your mind and body. HuffPost Life solves very real problems people live with each month, offering different stories, tips and techniques for communicating with others who understand what it is. In April, we cover migraines and headaches. Is there an experience you want to share? Email wellness@huffpost.com.


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