If you’re a frequent sufferer to migraines, you know that the term ‘headache’ doesn’t come close to explaining the pain of a migraine. Although it is a common condition, many people are still unaware about what it is like to live with the condition, which can often lead to assumptions and inaccuracies.
The online pharmacy, Pharmica have debunked the top 7 myths surrounding the third most common condition in the world.
Myth #1: A migraine is ‘just a headache’
A migraine is not ‘just a headache’ – it’s a more severe form of a headache which is characterised by a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Whilst the actual cause of migraines remains unknown, it is said to be caused by imbalances in the brain.
Unlike headaches, migraines can cause nausea, vomiting, disturbances in vision and sensitivity to lights and sounds.
Myth #2: Over the counter medications will provide relief
If you suffer from occasional headaches, then OTC medications may offer some relief. However, if you have persistent migraines which occur twice per week and you are taking OTC medication, you could find that they are ineffective.
It’s important to remember that migraines don’t have a cure, and medications can only provide some relief to reduce the symptoms.
Myth #3: Real migraines are one with auras
Migraines with auras are ones which causes disturbances, either visual or sensory which can occur before or during the headache. These can include seeing coloured spots, tunnel vision or dizziness.
However not all migraines will occur with an aura. It’s estimated that only 30% of migraineurs will suffer this form of migraines and it doesn’t necessarily have to happen with every occurrence.
Myth #4: Only women get migraines
Whilst it is true that migraines are more common in women (hormonal changes are thought to trigger this) but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur in men as well.
Myth #5: All migraines are the same
All migraines are not the same, and there are different types of migraines including auras, hemiplegic, retinal, chronic and it can vary between individuals. Some people might be more light sensitive whilst others may experience nausea and hot flashes.
Myth #6: Migraines don’t last long
If untreated, migraine attacks can last between 4-72 hours. The duration of a migraine will differ for everyone, but most commonly migraineurs will experience 2-4 headaches a month, however chronic migraines can last weeks.
Myth #7: You can just ‘push through’ the pain
Migraines can cause a hinderance to your lives and some might have to stop carrying out their daily activities because of the pain. Some people might need to lie down in a quiet dark room to manage the pain.
Migraines cause serious suffering and sometimes you might not have a choice and you may have to fulfil your duties so although you might see someone out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t feeling the pain.
Is there medication to provide relief?
Sumatriptan is a medication widely used to treat migraine attacks with or without an aura. Whilst it is not a cure for migraines, it works to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and helps reduce the pain caused.
Its active ingredient is designed to change the chemical levels in the brain which causes the blood vessels to widen causing the severe throbbing pain.
Migraines significantly affect your day-to-day lives, but knowing what triggers your migraines and finding ways to manage it is key to reducing the frequency of them.
Keeping a migraine diary, finding what food triggers them, fixing your sleeping schedule and exercising are just some of the ways you can manage your migraines.