Migraines: What Not to Say and Do If Your Friend is Suffering

Proper Etiquette to someone with Migraine

Almost everyone knows someone who is suffering from migraines. Or you may be a patient yourself. Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition that affects as many as 39 million people in the United States and nearly 1 billion individuals worldwide.

Women get them 3 times more often than men. Even children, as young as 18 months, can get migraines. Migraines not only impact your daily routine but cause you to miss out on family and social functions, as well as days of work. In fact, migraines are the 6th most disabling illness worldwide.

While some people have an occasional migraine, as many as 4 million people have migraines more than 15 times during a 30-day period. These are called chronic migraines. More than 90 percent of people are not able to properly function when they have a migraine attack.

What Not to Say and Do

When people who suffer from migraines were asked what they wish their friends and relatives would stop doing, they had some interesting things to say.

Stop calling it a headache. We understand you do not mean to diminish the effects of a migraine, but it is important to realize it is very different from a headache. Those suffering from migraines feel that referring to migraines as headaches make them seem much less painful than they really are. In fact, some people may feel like they understand what a migraine is because they too get headaches. However, you probably don’t have to leave work for a headache.

Migraines are actually a neurological condition that has a number of symptoms in addition to head pain. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tingling
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Numbness in the face or arms and legs
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and some smells

Obviously, migraines are much more serious than a headache. The only solution for a migraine may be to go home and lie in a dark, cool room until the pain subsides.

Don’t question it. If you notice your friend beginning to panic because he thinks he is getting a migraine, don’t doubt his judgment. He may need to leave work or school quickly. He may need to turn off the lights, put on sunglasses, and find a place to lie down right away. Being skeptical of whether or not your friend or loved one “really” has a migraine can actually do more damage than good. It can add stress to his situation and cause him to have more intense symptoms. It is difficult for those who have never had a migraine to understand them. How is it possible for someone to be fine one minute and then be in intense pain the next? But it happens.

Doubting your friend's migraines may cause him or her not to get the proper help. You should always encourage your friend to seek some type of care for the head pain. Maybe even help them decide what is a good option, like the option we will discuss later in this article.

It is also important for those who get migraines not to compare their head pain and other symptoms with another person. This is because no two migraines are the same. In fact, they may differ in the same person at different times. No comparison is necessary.

Don’t advise me on how to care for my migraines. Those with migraines understand you are trying to help because you genuinely care. However, it can be very frustrating for someone who has tried everything and anything to hear others telling them how to find a cure constantly. Most people with migraines know what their migraine triggers are and how best to handle them. They may perceive your well-intentioned advice as being judgmental or rude. Especially if someone implies that the one suffering from migraines is not living healthy enough or taking the right precautions. And, what worked for you or your neighbor may not work for everyone.

Give me some space. It is hard to see someone you love in pain, and often we just want to do something to make them feel better. However, in the case of those with migraines, the best thing you can do is to sit back and let them be for awhile until they feel better.

While you may want to fluff your loved one's pillow or check on them every 10 minutes to see if they need something, this is probably the worst thing you can do. Leaving them alone to rest, is the best.

Natural Relief for Migraines

An area seeing much success in helping with migraines is that of upper cervical chiropractic care. This is a type of chiropractic that focuses on the top bones of the upper neck, the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These bones are easily susceptible to misaligning because of their shape and range of motion. Although designed to act as a protection to the brainstem, they can actually put it under stress when they are misaligned.

Upper cervical chiropractors use a gentle method to help encourage the bones of the neck to move back into place more naturally than using the force of cracking or popping the spine. This technique also results in an adjustment that stays in place for a longer time because it was not forced. Many patients report seeing a vast improvement in the severity and frequency of migraines in only a couple of visits. Some see migraines go away and not return.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.