10 Things You Should Know about Migraine Headaches

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. If you suffer from migraine headaches, you may feel like you don’t need anyone to raise your awareness. But knowing and sharing these facts may help you feel less alone and give your family, friends, and coworkers the information they need to help support you.

  1. Migraines are not “just a headache.” They are a serious neurological disorder that can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, in addition to severe throbbing pain, usually in one side of the head. Some migraine sufferers also experience visual symptoms, called an aura, and tingling or numbness.
  2. Nearly 42 million people in the U.S. suffer from head pain, and more than 36 million people suffer from migraine headaches. These include men, women, and children.
  3. Most migraine sufferers—more than 90 percent—aren’t able to work or do normal activities during a migraine, which can last from 4 to 72 hours.
  4. According to the World Health Organization, migraine headaches are the sixth largest cause of worldwide years lost to disability. Headache disorders in general are the third highest.
  5. Migraines are expensive, costing the United States more than $20 billion a year. 
  6. Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men. Researchers believe fluctuations in estrogen levels help trigger migraines in women. Migraines occur most commonly in people between 25 and 55 years old.
  7. Taking too much medication can actually cause a headache and may lead to chronic migraines—headaches on 15 days a month or more. To avoid chronic migraines, experts advise not taking prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers more than 10 days a month for three months in a row and not taking headache medicine in high doses.
  8. Many people find that certain foods or events trigger their migraines—for instance, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol or eating foods containing preservatives. Because each person’s triggers can be different, if you have migraines, try to keep track of what you were eating and drinking and what was happening in your life just before a headache.
  9. There is no surefire way to prevent migraines, but doctors advise getting enough sleep, finding ways to avoid and cope with stress, eating regular meals, and getting regular exercise. Staying away from any foods or activities that seem to trigger your headaches is obviously a good idea.
  10. Treatments are available to help prevent and alleviate the pain of migraines. They range from natural remedies, such as butterbur and magnesium supplements, to prescriptions drugs, such as antidepressants and beta blockers.

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you don’t need to suffer alone. We can help.

Southwest Spine & Pain Centers is the leading spine and pain management group in Utah. The physicians of this multi-location practice are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions using leading minimally invasive techniques and procedures. For more information, or to schedule an appointment click here, or call 435-656-2424.