So, you’ve been experiencing migraine long enough now and you might think you know everything there is to know. You may even be reading this, thinking that you have your migraines under control. But did you ever consider that maybe you have been thinking about your migraine the wrong way?
There seem to be some bad thinking ‘habits’ that we all fall into. I’ve been guilty of every single one of these, because they are quite common among all of us. I’m here to shine a light on these bad habits in hopes that we all start to think differently about migraine.
And now, in my opinion, 4 Common Misconceptions
1. Treatment is a One Time Event
There was a time where I trusted my healthcare provider exclusively. When migraine first began for me in my early 20s, I discussed it in depth with my doctor, got my prescription and was all set.
My thought was that my doctor could just tell me how to handle migraine and I’d be on my way to recovery. That was about 15 years ago and I still get migraine attacks from time to time. As my body changes, migraines manifest themselves differently. For example, I never used to get nausea, and now it’s par for the course.
Over those 15 years, I’ve learned to not rule out anything that could help with my migraine attacks. One thing might work for one person and not for another. You never know. But, you have to be open to trying new things and talking to your doctor about evolving your migraine management approach.
2. Tracking migraine is a waste of time
Over the years, I have had times when I studiously tracked my migraine attacks, and times when I have just accepted the fact that they will come anyway, so why bother? I can tell you that even though the non-tracking route is a lot easier, it may not be better.
If you are able to record your life with migraine in a journal, you may start to have a clearer picture of migraine. The tools for migraine tracking have evolved and improved in the last 15 years. Not only that, since many of these tools are online, they are able to “crunch the numbers” and provide potential trends that you would not usually see. When you take this kind of information to your doctor, it can allow you to have a better conversation.
3. Your condition will improve on its own
No matter how many times I have debilitating attacks, I still try to convince myself that this is a very bad headache and that it will eventually go away. And, of course the second thing I tell myself is that this migraine episode is just a one off. My migraine is behind me and maybe that one was the very last.
You have to be realistic. Migraine can be a life-long condition. You will get more. It may sound strange, but once you start to think of it that way, you can begin to have hope.
Once you realize that simply wishing is not enough, you can begin to take more control over your condition. You get the power back. And even though, yes, you may have another episode, managing your triggers can help to reduce some of your episodes. And that is a very powerful way to think.
4. Just ‘dealing with it’ is better than prevention
It may seem easier to just live your life in denial and tell yourself, “…I will deal with my migraine when it hits and until then, I’m not going to give it any thought.” But that kind of thinking gives all the control to migraine and none of it to you.
If you can cut migraine off at the pass, you may experience less migraine days each month and migraine may reduce its impact on your everyday activities. Migraine management including preventive treatment may help you take control of your migraine and your life.
Your doctor may know a lot, but remember that you still know your own migraine best. It can help to count the number of times you feel like you have to treat your migraine attack. Do you hold off or take medication immediately when you feel an episode coming on? It’s these kinds of specific points that add color to your conversation and help your doctor understand the whole story.
There you have it. In my opinion, these are 4 common misconceptions that people have about their own migraine. After reading this, I hope that you learned something and you are able to put these words of advice to good use.
Janine H. is a real migraine patient. She has been compensated for her time.