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To My Friends: Here's How to Weed Out Bogus Migraine 'Cures' You Find Online

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Dear friends and family,

Watching someone you care about suffer isn’t easy. You likely want to help, but you may live too far away, have your own issues or struggles, your work schedule is crazy, or you don’t know what to do. Maybe you still hold out hope that no matter how many doctors they’ve seen and treatments they’ve tried, there’s something that will work or at least help more.


I’m here to tell you: The most valuable help you can give that will mean the most is to listen.

It’s hard to feel helpless when you want to help and make things better, but some things can’t be helped or fixed, only tolerated. Chronic migraine is very, very hard to treat. It doesn’t respond well to anything at all in some cases — prescription medications or home remedies. Sometimes minimal improvement is the best it will ever get. It’s hard to live with, yes. It’s hell.

But although you may want to help, it is really frustrating to have suggestions thrust on me over and over, because I have been desperate enough to try it all already and I have been searching for something, anything, for years. I have seen it all, I do try, and I keep up with the latest information obsessively.

The internet is full of great information about migraine disorder, but it’s also filled with unsubstantiated claims and outright scams aimed at migraineurs as well.

I know it’s not exactly fair to expect someone who doesn’t live with this illness to know the good from the bad, so here are some clues I look for to weed out bogus remedies and cure claims:

1. If it says the word “cure” anywhere. There is no cure for migraine disorder.

2. If it’s a meme. A meme is something you wouldn’t want health advice from, would you? They can be made by anyone. I wouldn’t trust your health to an internet meme.

3. If there is a lack of a clear source, scientific data or research backing up the claim.

I really, really appreciate those who care. How could I not appreciate it, when so many others don’t believe me or take me seriously? People like you are a godsend, no lie. It isn’t my intent to be hurtful or seem ungrateful any more than it’s your intent to upset me. I’m just trying to get you to see it from my point of view. There are better ways to help, and just by being there for us, you’re already doing the best, most important thing ever.

Thank you.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 24, 2016
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