Living With Migraine

Migraine is a disabling disease.

The World Health Organization places migraine as one of the 10 most disabling medical illnesses on the planet; with chronic migraine having an even more severe impact.


Migraine is an inherited neurological disorder that is characterized by over excitability of specific areas of the brain. Although we do not clearly understand how a migraine brain is different or what happens in the brain to start a migraine, we know that individuals with migraine are more susceptible to the influence of transient factors, termed “triggers,” that raise the risk for having a migraine attack

These triggers include hormonal fluctuations, environmental stimuli like weather or bright lights, certain smells, alcohol, certain foods, poor sleep and high stress. Not everyone has a clear trigger for migraine attacks. Learn more about migraine here.


The Burden of Migraine

Migraine costs the United States more than $20 billion each year. Costs are attributed to direct medical expenses such as doctor visits and medications, and indirect expenses like missed work and lost productivity. But the burden doesn’t stop there. Those afflicted with migraine are more likely to have depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, other pain conditions and fatigue. People who have a history of experiencing an aura phase (migraine with changes in vision) have been shown to be at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack.

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Diagnosing Migraine
How do you know you might have a migraine?

If you have two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor about your headaches.

  • Headache that is moderately or severely painful
  • Headache pain gets worse with physical activity
  • A headache that is throbbing and is often worse on one side
  • A headache that causes you to miss school, work or other activities
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells during a headache
  • A long-lasting headache (4-48 hours if untreated)

Demystifying Migraine


It’s estimated that 36 million Americans suffer from migraine, but only 1 of every 3 people talk with a doctor about their headaches. Of those, only half get the right diagnosis. For more than 90% of those affected, migraine interferes with education, career and social activities. To raise awareness of the impact of migraine, and to encourage people suffering from them to speak with a headache specialist, we’ve created “Demystifying Migraine.” This whiteboard animation video shows a glimpse of what people living with migraine go through and can help those who suffer in silence take back control of their lives.

Animation provided by Scientific Animations

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