Migraine Pain Is Treatable
Mistreating Recurring Headaches
Do you get recurrent headaches so intense that they disrupt your normal activities, such as work, school, and time with family and friends? And do you find that over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and extra-strength medications (Excedrin-Migraine, Advil-Migraine) do little or nothing to help?
If so, your headaches may be more than just bad headaches -- you could have a condition called migraine. Migraine affects roughly 28 million Americans, nearly four out of five of them women. But the condition often goes undiagnosed because people have a wrong understanding of what migraine is, says Merle Diamond, MD, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago.
"We estimate that fewer than 50 percent of cases have been diagnosed, and in large part that's because people think that if they're not nauseous and vomiting, or they're not sensitive to light, they can't be having a migraine," Dr. Diamond says. "It's as simple as this: if you have recurrent episodes of headache that prevent you from functioning normally, 97 percent of the time it's migraine."
"People also have a tendency to explain away recurrent headaches as 'my menstrual headache,' 'my sleep deprivation headache,' 'my tension headache,' or 'my hangover headache,'" Dr. Diamond adds. "And they don't think there's much that can be done to help, so they just keep taking the same over-the-counter medications."