Research Reveals Stigma: Migraine Treatment Essential

March 21, 2013

As if dealing with nausea, pain and neurological disturbances aren’t enough, add the challenge of attempting to function at your job or caring for your family.  This may come as no shock to you, but now researchers have confirmed a third challenge for people with chronic migraines:  scientific data proves that migraineurs are stigmatized (well, at least now you know it’s not just you).

For people with a debilitating migraine condition that doesn’t respond to common migraine therapies, this can make daily existence nothing short of utter misery and rife with hopelessness.  If this sounds familiar, know that migraine treatments are advancing and patience, knowledge and the right health care team will help you discover your best combination of therapies, treatment and possibly even migraine procedure.

According to a HealthDay report, researchers from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Headache Center in Philadelphia reviewed data from 308 subjects against a stigma scale for chronic illness.  Of the study group, 123 people had migraines, 123 people had chronic migraines and 64 people had epilepsy.  Epilepsy is a seizure disorder frequently associated with social stigma.  The subjects with chronic migraine scored 54 on the stigma scale, compared with episodic migraineurs who scored 42, and those with epilepsy who scored 45.  After compensating for other variables, the researchers found the scores of those with epilepsy and chronic migraine were in fact very similar, and significantly higher than those with episodic migraine.  If you suffer with chronic migraine, receiving effective migraine treatment is critical to alleviate your symptoms, allow you to work, and ease the burden of the stigma that comes with this condition.

The study, which was published in the online journal Plos One, noted that the stigma was associated with the incapacity associated with working.  The reason offered for chronic migraineurs presenting the highest score was because they missed more work than those with either episodic migraine or epilepsy.  The lead author indicated that roughly one quarter of the migraine patients in his own practice were unable to work due to their disability.  For individuals like these, a migraine procedure like neurostimulation may offer the long term migraine treatment they need so they can resume working and enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle.


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