Let’s dive into migraine attack misconceptions and myths
Migraines can affect everyone of all ages, so it’s super important that we cover the common migraine attack misconceptions to bring more clarity on the matter. This neurological disease is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood, and affects over 47 million people in the United States, and 1 billion people worldwide. Experts have weighed in on the facts and myths of migraines — let’s take a look at what they have to say.
At the top of the list of common migraine attack misconceptions lies the saying “migraines are just bad headaches.” When compared to headaches, “Migraines are far more complex,” said Lauren Green, neurologist at Keck Medicine of USC. Those who deal with migraines may have other symptoms including dizziness, hypersensitivity to sound and light, and even digestive problems.
Dr. Niushen Zhang, clinical assistant professor at the department of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford Medicine, states that there are various classifications of migraines. “For example, the frequency of migraine attacks determines if a person has episodic or chronic migraine,” Zhang told Yahoo. “People with episodic migraine have less than 15 headache days/month. Chronic migraine is when someone has greater than 15 headache days/month, with more than 8 of those days being moderate to severe with associated migraine symptoms, for greater than 3 months.”
Zhang also points out the misconceptions of over-the-counter medicine. It doesn’t always ease the pain, as there are a number of different prescription options. “Every patient is unique in terms of what type of medication is effective for them,” said Zhang. “It is helpful for patients to talk with their doctors about what is right for them.”
Another misconception is that migraine attacks only last for a few hours. In some instances, migraines can last up to three full days. Some may have symptoms in between migraine episodes. Symptoms can occur before and after each episode and can last for hours or days.
Dieting also falls into common migraine attack misconceptions, and although avoiding certain foods can help with migraines, there’s research that shows they don’t work as often as you think, and may lead to malnutrition. The American Migraine Foundation advises consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, supplements including magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and riboflavin (vitamin B2), may aid in migraine prevention.
If you’re dealing with severe headaches and migraines, please don’t mislead yourself with the common migraine attack misconceptions and consult with a doctor. For more information about the American Migraine Foundation, visit their website here.