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Caring for Someone with Migraine

By Dr. Sylvia Lucas

It can be frightening to see a person you care for suffering and not understand what they are experiencing. Understanding the condition that your loved one is experiencing helps you more effectively support and care for them. People with migraines may look fine on the outside, but in reality they can be experiencing disabling pain, may not be able to think clearly, and have sensitivity to light and sound. While normally insignificant, bright lights, strong smells and even the noise of a television can be very disturbing during a migraine.

People who have never experienced a migraine often times do not understand what migraine sufferers go through when a migraine occurs.

“I have experienced first-hand the challenges of communicating my experience with migraine to family members and co-workers,” says Teri Ranieri who has suffered from migraines for 40 years. “Fortunately, my two children are understanding of my condition, but not everyone in my life has been so sympathetic. Many people have believed I fake the pain of my migraines. They can’t seem to realize how I’m really feeling on the inside because I don’t appear physically ill.”

Ranieri experiences many of the typical symptoms of migraine: sensitivity to light, throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea and occasional vomiting as well as sensitivity to sounds and smells. She often has to lie down in a dark, quiet room and hope the pain and nausea will go away.

“It is important to understand what a person with migraines is going through, so you can provide them with emotional support and understanding, as well as helping care for them through a severe debilitating migraine that could last for several hours to days,” said Dr. Sylvia Lucas, clinical professor of neurology and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center. “Many people with migraines do not even know they have migraines, so as a caregiver, encourage your loved ones to talk to a doctor because diagnosis is the first step to effective relief.”

When caring for someone who suffers from migraines, there are two simple things you can do to better understand migraines and help your loved one:
Learn as much as possible about migraine

Attend migraine appointments with your care-recipient

“My migraines can last as long as 24 hours and are very debilitating,” says Ranieri. “They can prevent me from doing even the simplest tasks. When I have a migraine, for example, I am unable to even make dinner for my family because I’m sick to my stomach, my head is pounding and the smell of food makes it worse.”
If a loved one suffers from frequent bad headaches but has not been diagnosed with migraines, encourage him/her to visit www.HeadacheQuiz.com take the quiz and share the results with their doctor.

By learning more about migraines, you can better understand how debilitating the disease can be and how to appropriately help migraine sufferers find relief.
 



 

 




 



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