Why you shouldn’t take migraines lightly

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

So far in my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to rarely suffer from a serious illnesses, except one that I battle to this day.

I suffer from excruciating migraines.

But, in the process of trying to figure out why I had agonizing pain in only one part of my head for days at a time, I grew confused as to the difference between migraines and severe headaches, that confusion prevented me from finding a diagnosis and treating it properly, until a couple of years ago.

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June is national migraine and headache awareness month, which is an effort by the National Headache Foundation

to bring national attention to the legitimate condition, encourage those who suffer from migraines to see a healthcare provider and let those who suffer know new treatments are available.

If you have ever had a headache or migraine, you were probably told to take some over-the-counter painkiller and shake it off like I was by my peers.

So as the pain began to intensify, I would try to ignore it, thinking I just had a low pain tolerance to headaches.

It wasn’t until I began to be bedridden day after day due to the throbbing agony that my parents quickly realized something serious was going on.

I guess you could say that I was lucky I was able to obtain a diagnosis early on because of my family history of migraines.

In a weird way, it was a relief to know exactly what it was because, as a child, my mind was racing to the worst-case scenarios.

This is why I feel it is important to know the difference between migraines and headaches.

Migraines go through a different process than headaches, which to me is the easiest way to differentiate the two.

Migraines start with mood swings and slight dizziness followed by the second phase, which includes seeing an aura or wavy lines glowing around figures and shapes.

Although not everyone sees the aura, for me, this happens about an hour before pain strikes.

Then, after the pain hits, it takes little time to escalate, creating photosensitivity, dizziness, nausea and extreme fatigue.

There are some ways to prevent migraines, but I highly recommend not enduring the challenge alone and instead see a doctor for proper treatment.