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Living with the Stigma of Chronic Migraine

Migraines are often misunderstood, or dismissed as” just a headache.” Yet they have the capacity to interrupt a person’s life, relationships, and sense of well-being. A survey from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that chronic migraine sufferers experience as much social stigma as people with epilepsy — a disease that produces far more obvious and dramatic symptoms.

External and Internal Stigma of Chronic Migraine

Some of that stigma is external. “Migraines are the unseen and undocumented pain that takes them away from work ,” tells Dr. R. Joshua Wootton, of pain psychology at the Arnold Pain Management Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. “There’s no empirical test for migraine yet. That’s why people who report these problems with chronic pain are often not believed or are thought to be exaggerating in the work environment.”

Yet much of the stigma is also internal. Migraine sufferers often anticipate that their headaches will elicit a negative reaction from friends and colleagues, or that they’ll be less productive because they have to miss work so often. Such subjective experiences of stigma can be as damaging to mental and emotional health.

The Emotional Component

Migraines have been linked to an increased risk of depression. A study presented last February at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting found that women with a history of migraines are 41% more likely to be depressed than those without the condition.

For many sufferers, when they can’t find effective ways to manage their migraines that frequently results in feeling helpless, hopeless, and as if everyone is against them.

If you’re having these impressions, it can be helpful to see a psychiatrist or psychologist–particularly at a center that specializes in pain management.

Migraine can be a frustrating condition to treat because there is no quick “cure.”  Likely the safest, surest way for migraine relief is to work with a headache expert. With some trial and error, you may find a treatment that eventually alleviates your pain.

Get Treatment for Your Migraine at Pasadena Pain Management

Contact Us Today for a FREE CONSULTATION at Pasadena Pain Management. We can evaluate your headaches, migraines, head and neck pain, and/or TMJ disorder and tell you whether our TruDenta care program is right for you.

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.