Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Migraine, like many other illnesses, has a variety of myths and misconceptions around it. Let’s pick up a few myths surrounding this all-too-common but still misunderstood condition and check the facts.
Myth #1: Migraine is a slightly worse version of a headache — just a normal part of life.
Wrong! The truth is, a migraine is a headache, but it is not just any kind of headache, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is one of one of the most debilitating diseases that people endure. Researchers believe migraines are caused by imbalances in brain chemistry. It is a complex neurological disorder characterized by throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, weakness, and sensitivity to lights and loud noises. It can put a pause to your daily routine.
Myth #2: Migraines are not genetic
Some migraines can run in families and can potentially be passed down from parent to child. It is estimated that if one of your parents suffers from migraines, you have a 50% risk of suffering from them as well. If both of your parents experience migraines, the chances increase even more. Apart from genetic roots, it has been established that there may be environmental factors also to migraine predisposition.
Myth #3: Men not as affected by migraines as women
Not exactly true. The prevailing consensus on migraines appears to support the notion that it is mostly a female condition. It’s true that more women are three times more likely to have migraines. Women are also more vocal about the pain than their male counterparts. Having said that, it’s important to remember that the risk of developing migraines is true for both men and women. Thanks to this misperception, men are less likely to report their migraines and seek medical help despite experiencing incapacitating pain.
Myth #4: Exercise triggers migraine
For migraine sufferers, exercise can be a double-edged sword: some people experience exercise as a migraine trigger, while others find it to be a helpful form of relieving pain intensity. Debilitating migraines that occur just during physical workout may indicate other neurological disorders such as abnormal blood flow to the brain.
Myth #5: Children are not afflicted by migraine
Not exactly true. Migraine can afflict children as well – with a difference being kids can’t explain their headaches as much, especially small ones. It’s important to keep an eye on a child’s headache and consult a doctor if they also experience disabling symptoms such as irritability, episodic confusion, dizziness, difficulty in concentration, and extreme tiredness.
Myth #6: Migraine can be caused by depression and anxiety
Migraines are not caused by depression or anxiety, despite the fact that there may be some links between migraines and mental health. It is not psychological but neurological in nature. Psychological issues like anxiety, stress, depression, etc. may be migraine triggers, not a cause. It may contribute significantly to a migraine-related disability, increasing the number of migraine attacks and making them more painful.
Although migraines attack is the most complex problem to diagnose, the condition is treatable. With the help of a physician skilled in migraine management, you can learn what triggers your attacks and find ways to alleviate their severity.
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