Myths and Facts

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Myths and Facts

Myth : Migraine is just a type of headache
Fact : Though migraine is a type of headache, the pain associated with it can be significantly more intense and debilitating. Migraine being a neurological issue has both structural and functional changes that occur in the brain. Unlike headache, migraine is associated with several symptoms (polysymptomatic condition) including changes in mood, concentration, vertigo, vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light, odour and sound, visual disturbances, weakness and sometimes numbness and speech issues.

Myth : You must have an aura for it to be a migraine
Fact : This is not always true. Though many people with migraine experience aura phase of migraine, but it does not mean that your migraine is always associated with aura phase. You should keep a track of all the symptoms you experience including aura. This will help your neurologist in formulating the best treatment option that works best for you. Aura is different from the prodromal phase symptoms that many people experience before migraine.

Myth : All headaches are migraines
Fact : Though headache is an umbrella term for all sorts of headaches that a person experiences, yet there are different types of headaches including tension headache, cluster headache, sinus headache and migraine headache. The classification is based on international framework. Therefore, migraine is a type of headache which is quite distinct from other types of headaches based on its nature, duration, progression, severity and associated symptoms.

Myth : Caffeine is the cause of my migraine
Fact : Your caffeine cannot be always the cause of your migraine, but anything in excess is not good though. Therefore, coffee should not be blamed. Caffeine is in fact present is some of the effective headache medications. For some patients caffeinated beverages and drinks can help relieve pain. You can also make coffee effective for your headache or migraine if you take it only when needed, but don’t overuse it. If you use it excessively, then you may develop caffeine overuse or caffeine induced headaches.

Myth : My migraine is due to my lifestyle
Fact : Many people take the blame of migraine on themselves. However, it is not always true because a variety of factors may be responsible for migraines and your lifestyle is just the one. Food habits, anxiety, depression and stress are the triggers of migraines, which can be managed, but it is highly impossible to manage all the factors that can contribute to migraines. Furthermore, all the triggers cannot be avoided as such. Your genes also play a vital role as well.

Myth : I can manage migraines myself by taking medicines regularly
Fact : Taking migraine or headache medicines regularly on your own is not the best way to treat headaches or migraines. In the long-run it can make your problem worse owing to overuse of headache medicines. Many people with migraine who take medicines complain of rebound headaches or medication overuse headache. Your migraines can become severe and more frequent with overuse of lots of migraine medication. Such migraines may often become more and more difficult to treat.

Myth : I can manage my migraine with a diet plan
Fact : Though migraines can become worse or severe with certain foods and some foods can act as migraine triggers, it is not always possible to completely cure migraines with a proper diet plan. The foods that can trigger migraines include alcohol, ice-cream, aged-cheese, foods containing histamine and monosodium glutamate, gluten and chocolate. Though you can eliminate certain foods from your list, you cannot avoid all the foods that trigger migraine as the list is quite extensive. The food related triggers are not general, they are specific – which means what works for others may not work for you as every individual’s body processes foods differently. The best thing you can do is to identify your own food triggers and avoid them whenever you experience migraine symptoms.

Myth : Supplements can treat my migraine
Fact : Though there is some evidence that indicates the role of some nutraceuticals and supplements in reducing the symptoms and frequency of migraines, but all supplements are not safe and effective in managing migraines. Certain vitamins such as vitamin B2, minerals like magnesium, potassium and compounds like Co-enzyme Q10 may be useful, but you must consult a neurologist before taking any such supplements or ask your doctor whether he or she is including any supplements in your treatment plan.