There are a number of commonly held beliefs about migraines that make it hard for sufferers to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
1) Migraines are not real (all in the head, an overreaction to a normal headache, etc.).
Not true. Migraines are a biologic primary headache disorder. Even migraine pain is not confined to the head, though that is generally where it is worst.
2) Migraines have a known cause.
Sadly, no. There have been several interesting theories put forward in the last decade, but no single, definitive biological cause of migraines has been identified thus far.
3) All migraineurs have the same symptoms.
No, they don’t. This is one of the things that makes migraines so hard to diagnose, particularly if a patient’s doctor is only familiar with the most common symptoms.
4) A doctor can tell if it’s a migraine or not.
Not always. The wide spectrum of symptoms that can accompany migraine can make it difficult to diagnose, more so if the patient is not forthcoming with their doctor about all their symptoms.
5) Migraines are curable.
Again, no. Once properly diagosed many migraineurs still have to devote a lot of time and energy to managing their condition through medications, natural and homeopathic remedies, and diet and lifestyle changes. The various available coping methods work differently for each individual, so there is not even a single protocol of care.
6) Migraines are a woman’s headache.
Women migraineurs do outnumber the men 3 to 1, but there is no evidence the condition is sex-linked in any way.
7) Only adults get migraines.
Migraines have been diagnosed in adolescents, children, and even infants.
8) Every headache a migraineur is a migraine
Not true. Migraine sufferers can have regular sinus, tension, or stress headaches just like anyone else.