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Busting the Myths About Migraines – It’s Not What You Think




Migraine is a common yet serious condition that needs to be controlled or managed before it turns fatal. Yes, it can turn fatal if not treated properly with medication and changes in the surroundings as they both play an important role in preventing migraines.

According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 149 million people in the world are subjected to chronic migraines with various severity levels. Women are more prone and subjected to migraines than men due to biological and socio-cultural pressures in daily life.

Migraine Facts:

• It is the third most common disease in the world
• It affects 1 out of every 7 people globally
• It is 3x more common in women than men
• 10% of school-going kids suffer from migraines
• Almost 39 million Americans suffer from migraines
• The risk of acquiring this condition increases by 50% if a parent has it
• You are in a “chronic” condition if you counter 15 migraines per month
• It costs more than $20 million in the U.S. alone for migraine treatment

Migraines severity varies from moderate to throbbing pain which is suffered by almost 85% of the people. This can result in nausea, vomiting, and continued one-sided pain in the head for almost 35% of the people. This condition can aggravate if the patient is exposed to loud sounds or bright lights as the brain and sensory organs become extremely sensitive to light and sound during a migraine. Also, vision blurriness can be experienced during a migraine accompanied by numbness in parts of the face or tingling sensations in the legs or facial muscles.

There are many myths about migraines and their treatments which are mostly inappropriate in medical terms but are being applied to cure the problem. Some of the myths include:

Myth 1: Migraines are not serious; they are temporary headaches

Most of the sufferers of chronic migraines are the ones who have been found out to be non-serious towards this condition. They consider it a regular illness which is the result of external pressure like workload etc. and thus can be cured with things like caffeine or sleep, etc. However, this is a layman’s approach to deal with a potentially high-risk illness like a migraine. Some types of migraines can be fatal like hemiplegic migraine which can lead to stroke if left untreated for a long time.

Myth 2: A lot of caffeine will help

People think caffeine is the solution for tiredness, lethargy, colds, headaches, muscle pain, migraines, etc. Although it can help a certain way, this is not a medically recommended solution for these problems. In cases of migraines, a small amount of caffeine can help relieve the pain, but a lot of it can aggravate it. Doctors, therefore, do not recommend consuming too much caffeine when having a migraine.

Myth 3: There are no long-term medication/treatment for migraines

When a migraine hits, the first drug a person can think of is aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Although these are medically tested and safe drugs for migraines but they work temporarily. They do not represent a long-term solution or a cure for migraines. Thus, a proper diagnosis of the severity of migraines is necessary as it will determine the suitable long-term treatment for migraines.

Myth 4: Migraine medications during pregnancy are dangerous

This is not true. There are specific medications for migraines that can be consumed during pregnancy such as Triptan and Paracetamol. However, there are other over-the-counter medications which should be avoided during pregnancy as they can result in congenital malformation.

Myth 5: A vegan and healthy diet can prevent migraines for good

Diet does play a role in bodily functions but migraines do not completely depend on what you eat. Migraines can also occur in patients who meditate and only consume a clean diet. This happens because migraines can be genetic or a result of external stress which cannot be cured with diet alone. Don’t think those calm yoga masters never catch a headache!

Migraines are potentially dangerous if left untreated for a long time. They must be diagnosed with a proper method rather than treated with myths and home remedies. Every brain is different and thus every person’s migraine is different from the other. Thus, they need to be diagnosed and treated accordingly.

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