|“By effectively managing Migraine with
the acute and preventive medications currently available, Migraine does
not have to be a quality-of-life altering condition. Get diagnosed, get
treated and get on with your life...”
– Dr. Seymour Diamond
founder and executive chairman, National Headache Foundation
June 5-11, 2005, has been declared National Headache Awareness Week (NHAW)
National Headache Foundation
in an effort to educate the public about the impact and severity of Migraine
disease, and support the more nearly 33 million American Migraineurs. This year’s theme
is “Stop Migraines Before They Stop You.” According to an online survey
conducted by the NHF:
51% of sufferers experience more
than 10 Migraine attacks per month.
52% have missed holiday
celebrations because of their condition.
92% have missed a hobby-related
Migraine sufferers also lose 157
million work days each year, which in turn costs industry $50 billion
90% of sufferers have been
unable to complete a work or school day because of a Migraine attack.
41% feel that their boss and/or
co-workers are not understanding of their condition.
46% believe that their Migraines
have caused them to miss out on career advancement opportunities.
The NHF has established three
goals for National Headache Awareness Week:
to gain recognition of Migraine
pain as a real and legitimate condition
to let sufferers know that there
are new treatments available
to encourage sufferers to see a
healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
National Headache Awareness Week
emphasizes five tips to stop Migraines before they stop you:
Get Diagnosed. Only by
receiving an accurate diagnosis can Migraine sufferers begin the process of
taking control of their condition.
Partner With Your Healthcare
Provider. A wide variety of treatment options exist and together with your
healthcare provider you can determine which is most appropriate for your
Identify Your Triggers.
including foods, time of onset, pain duration and location or other factors
that you experience with your Migraine attack.
Use Effective Self-Management
Strategies. Work with your healthcare provider to determine if techniques
such as massage, guided imagery or biofeedback could improve your condition.
Utilize The National Headache
Foundation As A Resource. Call 1-888-NHF-5552 or visit
www.headaches.org for Migraine-related
topic sheets, to find a support group in your area, subscribe to NHF Head
Lines, and much more.
Migraine is a true neurological disease characterized by episodes or attacks
that may or may not include a headache among their symptoms. Still, too many
people are under the misconception that Migraines are "just bad headaches."
Because of this and other misconceptions, Migraineurs face not only the physical
pain of the disease, but unnecessary emotional pain caused by being
misunderstood and not receiving the support they need. To the five tips the NHF
offers, I would add Educate Yourself About Migraine Disease. Being
educated about Migraine disease is essential to working as a partner with
doctors and other healthcare professionals as well as educating those around us.
In the words of Dr. William B. Young of the Jefferson Headache Center, “An
educated patient is a better patient. I'd rather have a treatment partner than a
dishrag.” If your doctor is not willing to work with you as a treatment partner,
it's time to find a new doctor. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for
your own health, and your doctors work for you. We live in a new era, an era in
which patients are beginning to ask questions and expect answers. Good doctors
know and respect that. Taking charge of our health care ensures better care, and
knowledge is essential to taking charge.
National Headache Foundation Press Release:
“NATIONAL HEADACHE AWARENESS WEEK JUNE 5-11: National Headache Foundation Offers
5 Tips to Stop Migraines Before They Stop You.” Chicago. May, 2005.