National Headache Foundation Survey Shows People With Migraine Feel Misunderstood

  • Cluster headache
  • Headache
  • Migraine

A National Headache Foundation migraine survey featuring experiences of individuals with migraine showed that 65% of individuals with migraine currently use triptans as an acute treatment. Most also seek relief across many treatment categories ranging from prescription drugs to over-the-counter pain killers to holistic or alternative medicine. Despite treating their migraines with a variety of therapies, less than 29% of responders report feeling that their migraine is under control. 

Almost all responders felt misunderstood and feared they were a burden to family, friends, and colleagues. 

•    93% of individuals agreed that those who don't suffer from migraine don't understand the severity of the disease 
•    54% of individuals report feeling like a burden to family, friends and co-workers because of their disease 
•    53% say they modified career plans and aspirations because of the impact of migraine

The survey also conveyed the emotional and mental burden of migraines. Over 77% of responders said they were not able to do the things they wanted to because of migraine attacks. Responders reported the following due to a migraine attack at least once a week:

•    42% were unable to exercise or participate in physical activity 
•    37% feel less productive at work or school 
•    28% feel less able to take care of their children 
•    25% avoid sexual intimacy

Due to side effects such as brain fog, fatigue and sleepiness, on average 46% of the responders between the ages of 18 to 59 feel anxious upon taking treatment. In addition, 47% report that treatment side effects have interfered with their ability to go to school or work.

"Migraine disease is so much more than a headache. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted our world, stress and anxiety, which are major triggers for people with migraine, are at an all-time high. We must strive to understand and educate about the impact of this disease on not only physical well-being; but also, emotional and mental health," said Mary Franklin, executive director of National Headache Foundation. "Every person living with migraine has a different experience and we want all to feel confident in their treatment choices; but also know that there are others who understand the real impact of the disease." 

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