Educating Family and Friends
Of the world's population, only a small percentage (around 5 percent) manage to live completely headache free. That is an astounding number, but it means that head pain is something nearly everyone can relate to. Use this to your advantage when discussing migraines with close friends, and try to provide a frame of reference or an example. “A migraine is like being at a rock concert, standing inside one of those giant speakers, while having the stomach flu.”
Allow others to help you by making your recovery needs (e.g., a dark and quiet room) clear to all. Show other adults in the household where you keep your migraine medications and any other needed supplies in the event that you are unable to retrieve them. But be sure to launch your education efforts when you're feeling well, not when you are in the middle of a migraine episode.
Remember that migraines tend to run in families. The exact nature of how migraine might be inherited is still largely unknown, but it is well documented that having parents or other close relatives with migraines increases your own predisposition to having them.
Thirty-six million Americans are affected by the pain and stigma of migraine. That number has increased dramatically in recent years, due to more accurate diagnoses and heightened awareness. In any given year, close to 90 percent of people will have at least one headache, and more than 300 million people around the world will suffer a migraine.
What this means is that if you suffer from migraines, the odds are in your favor that someone else in your family does too. Where possible, do some research and try to locate these individuals; act as a mutual support system for each other. Take advantage of their knowledge of family dynamics to improve your own relationships with family members who cannot understand the extent of migraine disease.
It's also possible that some of those family members may not even realize that they have migraines. It is thought that close to 14 million people in the United States are undiagnosed migraineurs. The migraine sufferer is in a particularly beneficial position when it comes to recognizing the same suffering in people around him or her. Share your knowledge, and encourage anyone experiencing “the worst headache of their life” to consult a physician as soon as possible.