Home > Dates To Note > Migraine Awareness Week 2019

Migraine Awareness Week 2019

Those of you who weren’t reading or following my blog in the early days will probably be unaware that I used to do a series of ‘Dates To Note’ posts – if you’re interested they can be found in the menu above. These ran through 2013 into 2014 but I decided that they had run their course and, apart from a few reblogs – and a spoof –  there haven’t been many more since then. I have, however, decided to do a new one-off to recognise that this week (1st to the 7th September) is Migraine Awareness Week. I first posted about this in 2013 and have followed up on that a couple of times, but felt it was about time to do something new.

I’m sure many of you have experience of migraine, either yourself or with someone close to you. I was first diagnosed when I was 15 – to save you the maths, that was around 50 years ago. Since then I’ve had several migraines a year apart from one blissful period in my 20s when I went three years without one, and foolishly hoped I was somehow ‘cured.’ Not so. And the older I got, the more migraines I had and the longer they seemed to last! Five or six a year wasn’t uncommon, and they lingered for up to three days instead of just the one when they first started.

I hope you follow the link above, which takes you to the Awareness Week page on the Migraine Trust’s website. The Migraine Trust organises this week as a means of educating people about migraine, and their website has a lot of helpful information and links. Their headline statistics are frightening: every day in the UK there are 190,000 migraine attacks. The condition affects one in seven people, and is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. In other words, it is a big issue! They have undertaken much research into the underlying causes of migraine, but their aim is ultimately to find a cure for this debilitating illness. This is especially important as only about half of those who suffer are actually diagnosed with the condition: if a cure could be found, that might encourage more people to seek help.

One of the things the Migraine Trust encourage you to do is to keep a diary of your migraines and share it with your doctor. I did this when I was first diagnosed with depression, as I seemed to be getting headaches and migraines all the time, and it was very helpful to see what pattern – if any – there was. In particular, the site might help those who say they have a migraine when it is actually a bad headache: believe me, there is a difference and you’ll know it if you’re a fellow sufferer! When I was running the Dates To Note series I always gave a link to the NHS website as this is a very good source of information, and their coverage of migraine is as good as everything else they do.

My diary showed that there was absolutely no pattern to my migraines, which often seemed to occur with no prior warning. Most of mine started the moment I woke up: there was no build up to them throughout the day, as some people experience. That made it difficult to assess, but we managed to find a tenuous link to late night tea and coffee, or eating, before some of my migraines. I cut these out on doctor’s advice, but was never convinced that this made any difference. Like most migraine sufferers I just shut myself away in a darkened room until it felt safe to open the curtains again. Medical science has yet to agree on a set of defined causes for the illness: whilst one of the causes is believed to be emotional factors, such as stress, mine have always been noticeably different from regular headaches, which tend to fall into the category of ‘tension headaches.’ Migraines are believed to be a result of chemical changes in the body affecting the genes, and the genetic effect can mean that they are passed through the generations within a family. My Mum used to suffer badly with migraine and it has always been believed in our family – and by doctors – that I inherited this from her.

So how can you explain the fact that I have had far fewer migraines since I retired? I now live a life which, as far as I can possibly make it, is free from stress and tension. And the frequency of migraines has dropped noticeably – go figure! Does this mean that what I have believed for around 50 years was wrong? Even if that is the case, I can’t really see how I could have changed my working life to remove stress factors, which were part and parcel of any job I had. But I do find it interesting that a reduction in the number and length of migraines since I retired may somehow be related to that major lifestyle change. It is nearly six years since I retired, and I can only recall seven or eight migraines in that time – when I would probably have endured something like 40 in a similar period whilst working. I can recommend retirement for a number of reasons – apart from having to be old to do it – but for me a dramatic reduction in migraine frequency is one of the biggest benefits!

If you’re a fellow sufferer you have my sympathy. If so, or you’d just like to know more, do take a few moments to look at the Migraine Trust’s website – here – as I’m sure it will be of interest and help to you.

 

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  1. September 9, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Clive, I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 4! Like you, there was no pattern and, at that young age, stress was not a factor. It was clearly hereditary from my maternal grandfather and mother. My older brother had them through puberty and then they disappeared. Lucky sot! You are correct, though. Retirement has helped a great deal. While not gone, the frequency is less as is the intensity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 9, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Now that’s what I call starting early, Gael! Glad to hear that frequency and intensity have declined for you, too. Retirement does have some benefits, doesn’t it? 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. September 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

    Like

  3. September 5, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    That was very useful for me, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 5, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad it helped. If you’re a fellow sufferer you have my sympathy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. September 4, 2019 at 10:48 am

    I am so glad your migraines have ebbed Clive. It is a horrible condition. I had them for several years after an accident and thankfully reflexology saved the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 4, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks, Brigid, and the same to you! Glad you found a solution that worked for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. September 3, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    They say that often cheese, chocolate and caffeine are the culprits. I gave up all three many years ago and my migraines disappeared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 3, 2019 at 6:34 pm

      They are all thought to be factors. I consume less of them now than I used to, although I think it my case it is the reduction in stress factors which has helped cut down my migraines, rather than what I eat or drink. ‘Expert’ advice isn’t settled on anything definite, despite loads of research!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. September 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    My brother and sister have them, but my parents did not, nor me. I won’t pretend to understand what they are like, but I can imagine how they interfere with life. An uncle ( by marriage ) told me he would often come home from school to find his mother lying in the darkened bedroom and she always had one by the time they arrived ( by train ) at their holiday destination. An old chap at work, who was a bit of a lad apparently and had run ins with the police, told me when he was young he had such a bad migraine come on when he was out that he went into a police station for help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 3, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      I’m glad you don’t suffer them, Janet, they are horrible and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Apart from a few politicians, perhaps. I think that anecdote about the chap at work demonstrates well how desperate we can feel when an attack hits us!

      Liked by 1 person

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