Migraine, headache, and art

Migraine headache and art
migraine time - migraine art courtesy of silas216

Did you know that the three words - migraine, headache and art - really do go together*?  It's natural, when you think about it.  When you've gone through an intense experience, such as a migraine attack or cluster headache, or if you suffer from chronic headaches, it's something you want to express to others.  We want people to understand.

Migraine (which, as you know, is not a headache but a disease) and various types of headaches have often been misunderstood through the years.  Some of the earliest "art" was done by doctors and neurologists trying to understand what was happening in the body.

Migraine art
Migraine Day - courtesy of miss_rogue
Upon seeing an art teacher's portrayals of her migraine attacks, the late David Robinson began to develop the migraine art concept in the 1970s (more about Robinson, migraine, headache and art).  This turned into a wider movement, and migraine, headache and art competitions were begun in various parts of the world.

Today, many of these competitions continue.  But there's an even bigger revolution - people sharing their photos, paintings and drawings on their own websites, in Facebook, Flickr, and in blogs.  This isn't just self-obsession - it's a way to help the rest of the world understand what we're dealing with.  It can even help researchers learn more about headaches and migraine, and lead to new understanding and better treatments.


Read more here about the history of migraine art, and see more examples.


Have Your own Migraine or Headache Art to Share?

You want the world to understand? Share your own photo, drawing or painting that tells us what your headaches, migraine or clusters are really like!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Pain, Pain Go Away 
An illustration of the pain I feel which is so sharp...I know it is violent but it helps me to get my feelings out through drawing.

My Inside Outside 
This is how I feel most days on the inside - in my head. Everything ... lights, sounds, feelings are intense and overwhelming, while on the outside I "look …

Personal Hell 
I was dealing with my fourth day in a row of having a migraine. Nothing was helping the pain, so I decided to pain some pictures. This is one of them. …

To Plan My Life 
I am 45, my migraines have always been with me as long as I can remember, even as a very young child I had a pain in my head, apparently when I was three …

Hanging On To Your Face 
Those migraines that last for days. It feels as though things have attached to the side of your face and over your eye. They just keep hanging there and …

Rainbow ZigZag Boomerang 
Starts in far corner of one eye, gets bigger as it travels across one eye onto the other eye until it reaches the far side of the opposite eye. No pain. …

Know One Knows 
As a child the migraines were my own personal monster. No pain. Only frightening distortions of people and objects. Fits of strange blindness. Too young …

Feel the pain of Sound and Light 
Sound and Light become life like objects penetrating to the inside. No shields can protect you from them. Your only hope is to lapse into the prickly, …

wish i had a picture 
headaches have ruined my artistic expression. i get a headache when i draw and it has come to the point where i blank out and cant see or feel what i want …

Migraine 
When I decided to make this piece, I thought "what would best represent the feeling of a migraine" and many sharp objects came to mind, including nails, …

Self Portrait with Migraine 
Sometimes they start slowly. Sometimes immediate and stabbing. No Aura. Just pain. Usually on one side of my head. I've been getting them all my adult …

Seeing Sounds 
before i get a migraine, i get synesthetic auras. i see different colors and shapes depending on what i hear or what i'm feeling, although i also see things …

Seeing Sounds 
this is a drawing of one of my auras. before i get a migraine, i get synesthetic auras. i see different colors and shapes depending on what i hear or what …

The Pain Tunnel 
So blinding is the light I shut my eyes Digital Photoshop Work after migraine.

Feels Like... 
Pictures can tell a thousand words. This image came to me this morning during a migraine attack. After taking medicine because I caught it early enough, …

Eye Aura 
This is a basic image showing what i would be seeing when i have an eye aura. if in fact that is what it is.

Migraine Skulls 
This is a work in progress...But I wanted to share it because I often love to see where a drawing has come from and where it is going... Two skulls, …

Instant Torment 
It's not *exactly* what I see right before a migraine hits, because I can't ever seem to focus on it and study it - when I try, it moves out of my direct …

Chaotic Confinement 
For the past three years, I have been plagued with daily headaches. Relatively recently, I began to work through it with the use of drawing and found that …

Things I see 
I've been seeing this thing in various colors and intensities for 25 years. I thought I was developing clairvoyance because I always felt a "presence" …

Mine's prettier than your's 
My first one ever. It was in constant motion with the chevrons dancing side to side. Lasted 20 minutes, no headache at all. I recently ripped two out …

Category 5 
Everyone in my family gets migraines, and I'm the only one who doesn't get auras. I'm kind of jealous because a)I feel left out, and b)some people see …

first occular migraine 
i have suffered from migraines without auras for years. i had a hysterectomy 4 months ago and have not had any since the surgery. a few days ago i had …

Another headache 
Its like I'm lost in a fog where the only real thing is the pain in my head.

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aura 
This is more or less the colours and visuals I see, this has intensified over the last couple of months followed by neck pain and migraine.

Intense: Pronunciation: \in-ˈten(t)s\ Function: adjective  
I've had migraines for so long now (35+years)That I just gotten use to them I guess. I can always tell how bad it's going to be by where the aura starts, …

Artistic Interpretation of Vacillating Crystalline Arc Shapes of the Migraine Phenomenon 
I never had Migraine aura until perhaps two years ago. I was worried about it at first. Now I know they'll go away in just a couple minutes or so. …

Migraine Monster 
The pain got to me... I guess that's self evident. After a pulmonary embolism some two years ago I have been extremely prone to migraines lasting weeks …

What I see 
I produced this during college. 2002. At the time I was studying graphic arts and it dawned on me that I might now have the skills to show the world …

Silent Ocular migraine 
It is so scary. I never know when it is coming, until I am in the throws of it. All of a sudden my eyes start acting really weird, I can't focus and …

Silent Ocular migraine 
It is so scary. I never know when it is coming, until I am in the throws of it. All of a sudden my eyes start acting really weird, I can't focus and have …

migraine monster 
when i get migraine pain, it's in the back of my head. i painted the monster and the background in shades of green, as green has always represented nightmares …

self portrait with migraine 
It is like seeing sound,and hearing colors, which only a migrainer could understand.

Zebrallusions 
My migraines are either intense headaches or visual disturbances, which never occur together. During the visual migraines, I typically think I am having …

Blade 
It makes me nauseous to even think of it. It appeared yesterday. It was like a jagged saw-blade but oval'ish, not round. But very true saw blade edges. …

Migraine Aura 
Digital artwork, set against one of my own photos depicting what I see during the migraine aura

The Chute 
This is the way I felt, as if the top of my head was going to go off in a horrible chute of pain and nerves and flashing lights. I felt nauseous and ended …

Blinded 
Before and during a migraine my vision is greatly disturbed and I experience pain that feels as though my head is torn apart. My eyes also swell. This …

Injecting Pointless DHE 1 & 1/2 Inches Deep Into My Thigh 
This was during my Hades days with a doctor in Minneapolis, MN, USA, whose philosophy was not to treat disabling migraine pain at all. I was only allowed …

Voodoo Migraine 
Sometimes while in the middle of a migraine, I find myself wondering where did these things ever come from. Although I've heard they are hereditary and …

Me -- On A Bad Day 
I'm always left to wonder why is it that I was saddled with this particular affliction...migraines. I mean -- growing up an asthmatic was bad enough (laughing …

Surreal 
A headache that draws out four hours begins to put me in a state of surrealism. I seem to feel as though I have faded in to the mirrors looking back at …

Migraine 
Photo shows the pain during a migraine.

Is this Scintillating Scotoma? - It is mine! 
I have seen this shape drift across my eyes moving top left of field to bottom right then it starts over again. It is about 50% transparent and is accompanied …

Migraine #4 
Migraine - (2008) With this series, I make the often private and debilitating experience of a migraine open to all. "Migraine" is wrought with melancholia. …

A collage of my migraine auras 
Hi there I have occular migraines. I get the migraine aura's - sometimes the scintillating scotoma usually in the day time, and sometimes brightly coloured …

Migraine Expression Not rated yet
After I had a headache I felt compelled to do a quick sketch of how I felt...

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* Note - this page talks about art based on headaches and migraine.  Remember, however, that migraine headaches are only one symptom of migraine.  Many people with migraine don't get any headaches at all!  Migraine headache is only one possible symptom, not the disease itself.  Read more about migraine headache and other symptoms of migraine.