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Let's Clear It Up: 4 Common Misconceptions About Migraine

Migraines. They’re incredibly common, incredibly painful and seriously misunderstood. Let’s talk about some misconceptions about migraines.

Migraine Myth #1: There is no singular type of migraine.

There are actually many different kinds of migraines and each has its own special concoction of symptoms that make those who have them have many different, less-than-awesome experiences.

In fact, according to the Migraine Trust, there are two major categories of migraine — with and without aura. The term aura refers to experiencing visual symptoms along with migraines such as seeing lines, shapes or flashes, with or without their eyes being open.

Auras can also impact a person’s ability to see, hear, talk, taste, smell or touch.

One in every four individuals who have migraines has migraines with auras.

Migraine Myth #2: Migraines are just headaches.

Nope, nope, nope. Watch closely.

Every migraine is a headache, but not every headache is a migraine.

This is to say that headaches are experienced by individuals in high-stress situations, if an individual is dehydrated, etc. Migraines are headaches that cause severe pain, agonizing throbbing or pulsations — typically only on one side of the head. A migraine can last for hours or even days with severe pain that can be incapacitating, according to the MAYO clinic.

Migraine Myth #3: Children can’t get migraines. That’s an adult experience.

Children absolutely can get migraines, and they can significantly impact their development. Three percent of preschool children, four to 11 percent of school-aged children and eight to 15 percent of high-school-age children get migraines.

Children’s migraines can also have a different set of symptoms and treatment plans, so if you believe that your child may be experiencing pediatric migraines, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Migraine Myth #4: Migraines can be cured because we know a lot about them medically.

Actually, medical professionals know incredibly little about migraines, in comparison to other medical phenomena.

Scientific developments and our understanding of migraines have varied significantly just in the past few years alone. We once thought a changing size of blood vessels in the brain caused a migraine we now believe that migraines may be actually caused by a brain malfunction that impacts blood vessels, brains and nerves.

We also know that migraines are genetic; 60 to 70% of individuals who experience migraines likely have an immediate family member who experiences migraines as well.

We also know that migraines can be triggered by a variety of life experiences and even dietary choices.

In short, the science is constantly developing.

If you live with migraines, you’re clearly not alone. What do you wish people understood about your migraines and what have you learned from your own experiences with migraines? Let us know and we may include it in a story soon!

Getty image by Ilya Lukichev.