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If you have migraines of any type, you know that the second you say, “I had a migraine this weekend” that inevitably someone will say, “I get bad headaches and I just take a Tylenol and it goes away”.
Seriously, this comment makes me want to punch them. But instead I just move on and try not to let myself be bogged down by someone’s lack of concern. What is really strange is that this person probably thinks they are showing empathy.
Where does this lack of understanding come from? Well, my personal opinion is that it is used often to describe any headache. It has become so watered down that the true severity is now ignored.
Migraines come in many forms but there are a few factors that are the same for all types of Migraines. First is that the headache is only on one side of the head. Mine are always in the exact same spot…every single time! Second, sensitivity to light is so common among people with migraine that it is often the first thing they are told by Doctors to do…lay in a dark room.
Migraines have 4 different stages that the typical headache will not have.
- Prodrome (pre-migraine): It can be a smell, a ringing in your ears…really anything that you can consider a sign that you should get ready. This is the warning bell…learn what it is for you and always listen to it. 90% of the time I smell blueberry muffins up to an hour before one starts!
- Aura: this is where the sensitivity to light begins. And depending on what type of migraine you have been diagnosed with can include but is not limited to, seeing light or dark spots on your vision, garbled speech, weakness, dizziness, paralysis and stroke like symptoms.
- Headache: this is where it can get tricky. Not all migraines include head pain. Yeap, that is correct! They are called silent migraines. You will be just as sick but without the pain. Remember that head pain is only a symptom of the migraine.
- Post Drome (recovery): I call it that “Day after the Migraine feeling”. This phase can include continued nausea and light sensitivity, decreased appetite, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, etc.
So, you see? A migraine is so much more than a headache.