Living with Migraine

Migraine is a disorder whose basic cause is uncertain. Various factors are involved in making the symptoms appear in any individual, but exactly why you have it and your neighbor or friend does not is inexplicable. The acute symptoms can be much relieved by various. Most sufferers learn to accept, however, that this is a condition which one has to learn to live with to a certain-degree; It is not a lethal disorder – people do not die of migraine – and it tends to improve gradually as regards both severity of the attacks and their frequency until in middle age, and in women particularly after the menopause, it goes away or becomes so trivial as to be something which can be ignored.

During the earlier years an attack, say, every three to six months may be unpleasant but does not significantly upset the work or domestic schedule of the sufferer., Recurrent frequent attacks however, either of classical or common migraine can totally disrupt a person’s domestic, social and working life. Those who have never experienced migraine may tend to dismiss it as just another headache and be unsympathetic, but the feelings of nausea and discomfort -quite apart from the degree of severity of the headache -make it impossible for most sufferers to cope with daily routines during an attack.

What can the individual migraine sufferer do to reduce the incidence of attacks? Many of these cannot be altered or avoided, for instance one cannot’ change one’s here9ity or personality, but there are a good many factors that can be changed.

Stress at home, in one’s personal relationships and especially at work may be an important factor in the severity of migraine. A patient may find that the headaches are much less when he is on holiday, or when temporarily transferred to other work or surroundings, or when resting at the week-end. This last point may be misleading, because migraine may occur ‘chiefly on Saturday or Sunday morning when staying in-bed longer, and relaxing. This is the so called ‘let-up’ headache, the penalty for not getting up early to go to church. It is not known if this is a delayed effect of stress during the preceding week or is associated with longer than usual hours of lying down which might theoretically affect blood flow to the head.