Under-Diagnosed Migraines Due to Stigma

Written by AnaLise on September 10, 2008 – 7:05 am -

Migraine headaches have been becoming more prevalent throughout the United States in the past few years.  In fact, it is estimated that about 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, and many of that number suffer from chronic or ongoing migraines.

This is a large number of people, and research shows that many of these migraine sufferers remain undiagnosed, under-diagnosed and untreated.  Less than half of the 30 million are diagnosed by a medical practitioner and as a result, their lives are impacted severely.

Without diagnosis and treatment for migraines, people are often debilitated with no relief.  If you have ever suffered a severe migraine or know someone who has, you know that the symptoms of severe nausea, extreme pain, blinding sensitivity to light and other symptoms make it impossible to function, much less work or participate in any activities of life, until the symptoms subside. 

This can take a few hours, a day or more.  Severe migraines do not usually respond to medications such as over the counter headache or migraine remedies.  Some migraines that are not too strong may respond well if migraine medication is taken immediately, however, for severe and ongoing migraines, prescription medication and/or other medical treatment is usually necessary. 

Unfortunately, there is often a stigma when it comes to migraines.  Migraines used to be called everything from “a woman’s complaint” to a reaction to stress that needs a little rest and relaxation.  Doctors did not take it seriously.  Some would prescribe pain medication, others would prescribe tranquilizers or muscle relaxers.  In some cases, these alleviated some of the pain.  In other cases, these did not help at all.

Many migraine sufferers have hesitated going through the same stigma and lack of care and concern again, and have suffered with the pain – many for years.  There is good news for them.  They no longer have to suffer.  There are any new medications available, and if one doesn’t work, there are others to choose from.  There are also various treatments and there are doctors and pain clinics that specialize in treating migraines and helping people on a long term basis. 

If you suffer from severe headaches – especially more than one or two per month, do not suffer in silence.  Find a pain or headache clinic or talk to your doctor and get some relief.  There is help available.  The stigma is no more.

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