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HeadWay, Issue #130 -- 7 Lies Headache Patients Believe
May 21, 2015

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In this issue:

7 Lies Headache Patients Believe

Don't-miss Articles from Headache and Migraine News

Say what?!  Migraine

7 Lies that Headache Patients Believe

Are you short-circuiting your own treatment and healing by believing one of these lies?
  1. Headaches are normal. No, they're not. Not everyone gets them, and they certainly don't get them on a regular basis. Headaches are treated for a reason. Words like "disorder" and "disease" are used because headaches shouldn't be there and need to be treated.
  2. I don't get migraines, just headaches. Ok, this one is a little subtle. We could say that the word "just" is the problem here, because there are many headache disorders that are just as disabling as migraine. But the other problem is that many people still equate "migraine" with "severe headache". Migraine attacks can be mild, and so-called tension headaches (tension-type headaches) have a lot more in common with migraine than people think.
  3. My headaches are caused by stress. No, they're not. I've researched and written on the relationship between stress and headache (especially migraine) for many years. Is there a relationship between the two? Yes. Is migraine caused by stress? No. Are migraine attacks triggered by stress? Maybe in part. But in my opinion, blaming headache or migraine attacks on stress is one of the worst things that has kept people from finding good treatment over the years. Many people with high-stress lives hardly get any headaches. Don't wait for life to "calm down" - get proper treatment. (More reading: It's NOT "Just Stress", Stress, Diet, and searching for Triggers, "Proof" that Headaches are caused by Stress?
  4. Somewhere out there is a quick fix. All right, this could possibly be true, but it's unlikely. Even getting a proper diagnosis for a headache disorder can take months, even years. Many of the excellent treatments that are available take months to work, and you'll probably have to try a few. Finding treatment is not a sprint, but a marathon.
  5. There is no hope of improvement. Some of you have tried many treatments over many years, and find yourself worse off than before. You don't know where to turn, and are tired of trying. But believe me, there are still options out there. Although you may need to take a break from the search, never give up. Every small improvement is a victory. There are so many people like you who have finally found an answer - or even people whose symptoms have improved on their own. There is hope.
  6. Things won't change. This is similar to the last one, but I want to bring up something a little different. Sometimes we start to think that we know ourselves really well - we know what triggers an attack and what doesn't, what treatments work and which ones won't. But remember, you aren't the person you were yesterday. Your body is changing. Your environment, no matter how stable it may seem, is changing. Expect that your symptoms may improve, or get worse, or that a new trigger may appear, or an old one disappear. Things change over time.
  7. It's just "migraine". We already talked about the lie that can be hidden in the word "just" - whether migraine or tension-type headache or something else, having frequent headaches is something serious that can have long term consequences. But there's something else here. Many people don't find good treatment or don't understand their symptoms because they're doctor just said,"It's probably migraine" and didn't investigate further. There are many types of migraine. Find out specifically what you have. It can make a big difference. It may be time to talk to a specialist.
If you have fallen in to one of these 7 traps, open up your mind a little and consider new possibilities. You may find that one of those new possibilities means fewer symptoms, and more of a pain-free life.

Don't-miss Articles from Headache and Migraine News

Here are a few recent articles to check out:

Say what?!  Migraine

Every month we look at the definition of a word related to headache disorders. So why oh why, after 130 issues, are we looking at a word as simple as "migraine"?

As you may have noticed, I often encourage people to get a more specific diagnosis, and not just "migraine". So - is there even such a thing as "migraine" itself?

Yes, of course. It's like saying,"car" instead of saying "Toyota Camry" or "Ford Fusion". It's just not very specific.

Someone has "migraine" if they have one of the two subtypes of migraine, which are migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Both are recurring and last from a few minutes to three days (without treatment), often include headache (usually throbbing), and typically have one or more bilateral symptoms (one side of the head). Other typical symptoms include nausea, sensitivity to light, aura, and pain that is aggravated by activity.

Now already it's getting complicated, because someone out there is asking about constant headache, and what if I don't have all these symptoms, and so on. Again, this is because the best definitions are not of "migraine", but of a specific type. Within the two sub-types are numerous other kinds of migraine, each with a name and a list of characteristics.

So, again, if you want good treatment, you're likely to have a specific diagnosis. In fact, your doctor may diagnose you with more than one type of headache.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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