Why do colds get more sympathy than migraines?

Migraine Chick Community Member October 30, 2007
  • Right now, I've got a nasty cold on top of my migraine pain, which makes me feel like I'm living at the corner of Migraine Avenue and Cold Street.  It just seems like more than one type of pain in your head is a lot to deal with.

    Do you know what I noticed since my cold started on Thursday? My co-workers were far more sympathetic about this snot ridden cold than they have ever been about my migraines. Everyone was telling me to feel better. There was genuine concern about how I was going to spend my weekend with my cold and did I have enough cold medicine, etc.

    Is it because they can understand what a cold is like and not a migraine? Is it because they can see the snotty tissue filling up my trash can at work and not see the horrible pain inside my head from a migraine?

    I found this really bothering me because I feel my migraines equal the distress of a cold.
17 Comments
  • SamArizona
    Nov. 07, 2007
    alot of my friends and family dont understand migraines, they tend to get upset when i dont show up for family get togethers even when  tell them the reason, im starting to think they believe im back to binge drinking and abusing narcotics..i guess thats my fault since i have had a history of that, but it still bothers me especially since i rarely drink...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    alot of my friends and family dont understand migraines, they tend to get upset when i dont show up for family get togethers even when  tell them the reason, im starting to think they believe im back to binge drinking and abusing narcotics..i guess thats my fault since i have had a history of that, but it still bothers me especially since i rarely drink or even go out anymore. i just recently had a bad sinus infection along with an infected tooth, talk about pain, i generally have a very high tolorance to pain but this time i was in tears for two weeks. like what others have said, people just cant relate to it, to them its just a headache.
  • Denise Garrett
    Nov. 06, 2007

    Hey Chick,

    Don't let those coworkers bother you too much. Truth is, they never really understand Migraines. Only people like us who KNOW, and DEAL with them day to day can sympathize.

    I know when I was working (had to quit because of migraines), people didn't seem to even show compassion. They just look at you like your from Mars or something. That's...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hey Chick,

    Don't let those coworkers bother you too much. Truth is, they never really understand Migraines. Only people like us who KNOW, and DEAL with them day to day can sympathize.

    I know when I was working (had to quit because of migraines), people didn't seem to even show compassion. They just look at you like your from Mars or something. That's one good thing about this forum, at least "we" do understand.

    I had a stomach flu on top of a Migraine over the weekend. I thought I would die. With the nausea, and the pounding from the migraine, then with this flu-bug, ........oh I was praying. Well, hope you feel better. Don't let those people get you down. They are not worth it. We have enough stress with migraines.

    Take care!Big Smile

  • DJ
    DJ
    Nov. 06, 2007

    Thanks Mark for your kind comment and Jeffrey for the link on the invisible chronic illness website, I've joined up now.

    Fortunately I've now gotten a referral to a neuro and will be seeing them Friday so hopefully soon a new med will reduce them and hopefully get rid of them.

    Thanks DJ

  • Anonymous
    Mark
    Nov. 04, 2007

    Quite probably, it is indeed because they can't "see" your migraine, or relate to it. I feel for you.

     

    Take comfort, Mark.

  • Anonymous
    DJ
    Nov. 04, 2007

    I have to admit that in Australia in the workplace or with friends I've had to put up with such awful attitudes. Most have been more frustrated on my behalf that I have great problems accessing treatment. And if I mention them then usually others will either admit they have migraines too and discuss them or tell of others they know.

    However I've had...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have to admit that in Australia in the workplace or with friends I've had to put up with such awful attitudes. Most have been more frustrated on my behalf that I have great problems accessing treatment. And if I mention them then usually others will either admit they have migraines too and discuss them or tell of others they know.

    However I've had a couple of employers not be happy with the amount of sick leave I'd had to take with them but it's been more a problem with an employee having a health problem leading to extra sick leave than the actual specific condition itself.

    However our GP's over in Australia have an appalling attitude towards migraines and refuse the treat them. Plus pain managment as a whole is pretty poor, that is very limited access to wholistic pain management for anyone with chronic pain. However even with this situation re pain management migraine pain is still the worst treated whilst people with other pain do at least get medications. Pain is very much seen as it's only pain others are worse off so put up with it.

    We also have rehab and education groups for a wide range of conditions ie cardiac, diabetes and so forth but for chronic pain nothing similiar. A chronic pain organsiations has just started up (who after I emailed them about migraine see migraine as chronic pain) would like to see chronic pain sufferers have similar community based rehab programs as diabetics and heart patients to assist people to manage their pain.

    However a while ago I came across a situation in another online group (for people with heart problems as I have an arrythmia) and someone was very scathing about someone saying they'd found it hard to come into work due to a migraine but they'd made the effort with the attitude that it's only pain whilst the commenter had a heart condition (which many who have heart conditions have extremely prompt and proactive treatment, regular monitoring with cardiac rehab and support groups) so I pointed out that I had migraines, it was hard to work with them and at times one simply can't come into work with them and how some of the problem was lack of treatment and refusal to treat. Then the claws came out and I was getting abusive messages and so forth.

    Anyhow interesting topic

  • coilytail
    Nov. 04, 2007

    This probably isn't a fair comparison, but I am going to do it anyway. When my sister-in-law was diagnosed  with breast cancer she had a freezer full of food within a week, neighborhood moms begging to drive her kids to various functions, and a maid service ordered for her by the family. I understand that, I really do. I have had migraines - sometimes...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    This probably isn't a fair comparison, but I am going to do it anyway. When my sister-in-law was diagnosed  with breast cancer she had a freezer full of food within a week, neighborhood moms begging to drive her kids to various functions, and a maid service ordered for her by the family. I understand that, I really do. I have had migraines - sometimes up to 12 a month -  for 14 years. I have never had a meal brought over or someone clean my house. I usually drag myself up and get the kids going and then crawl back into bed after calling in sick for the billionth time.

    My sister-in-law is in remission, Praise God. Her life is back, for now.

    When is my remission?

     

  • Jeffrey Hall
    Nov. 03, 2007

    Having grown up in Chicago, I became accustomed to toughing out colds and fevers.  However when it comes to my migraines I feel like a helpless child.

     

    Various employers have witnessed me arriving at work with various cold, flus, and fevers and preforming well at my jobs, only to take off several days in a row for complaint of a "headache"...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Having grown up in Chicago, I became accustomed to toughing out colds and fevers.  However when it comes to my migraines I feel like a helpless child.

     

    Various employers have witnessed me arriving at work with various cold, flus, and fevers and preforming well at my jobs, only to take off several days in a row for complaint of a "headache" at other times.  This appeared to them as a cotrdiction, and I was accused several times of having a drug habit or a drinking problem because I would have no problem working with other afflictions which, in their eyes, were much less severe than a "plain old headache."  I'm glad you brought that point up.

    • Jeffrey Hall
      Nov. 03, 2007
      Forgive my fast typing.  I meant to say "contradiction" and "much more severe."
  • Anonymous
    Jan
    Nov. 03, 2007

    I find the same thing at my place of work.  I also find that I seem to get a migraine at the same time as I get a cold.  Anyone else find this happens?  I have had more people tell me I should go home (impossible because of staff shortage) with the stuff nose.  When I have a migraine they just assume I should work through it. 

     ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I find the same thing at my place of work.  I also find that I seem to get a migraine at the same time as I get a cold.  Anyone else find this happens?  I have had more people tell me I should go home (impossible because of staff shortage) with the stuff nose.  When I have a migraine they just assume I should work through it. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • dianacwolf
    Nov. 02, 2007
    You hit the nail on the head-- everyone can relate to a cold. 

    But, only a migraine sufferer can relate to a migraine.

    Seriously.  Folks just get tired of hearing about our headaches, because they can't relate. They've never had one, so they figure, well, "It can't be that bad.  Why do they keep talking about it? Why don't they just buckle...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    You hit the nail on the head-- everyone can relate to a cold. 

    But, only a migraine sufferer can relate to a migraine.

    Seriously.  Folks just get tired of hearing about our headaches, because they can't relate. They've never had one, so they figure, well, "It can't be that bad.  Why do they keep talking about it? Why don't they just buckle up?  Man, they sure are being a weenie about this.  Sort of a hypochondriac really.  Always whining about their headache...  Everyday it is the same thing...  My headache...  My headache..."

    I learned very early on in life to not tell people when I had a headache. I even hid my medicines, and learned how to take them secretively by cupping them in my hand.  Just pretending I was like everyone else.

    And, if I didn't look right, and someone asked what was wrong, I would lie and say I was just tired.

    I gave up explaining about my migraines to "non-migraine" people a long time ago.

    I have a select group of friends who get migraines, and they are my special "peeps."  the only ones I ever talk about my migraines with.  I don't let anyone else into my secret world.  No one else can handle the truth.

    the rest of them can only handle snot and tissues.

    Shallow as it is, it is the truth.

    - Diana


    • Anonymous
      stacy
      Nov. 04, 2007

      for some reason i allowed my co-workers to distroy my emotionally with their lack of understanding. these people were so called friends i had worked with for many years. i finally retired disabilly and i still have issues with trusting people.

    • Anonymous
      kathy
      Nov. 07, 2008

      Hi Diana,

       

      I think that people don't understand about migraines because these days everyone says that when they have a headache the have a "migraine."  If they only understood!  I went through years of heck before I finally found a dr in Boston, MA that put me on a migraine diet.  I swear, In a little over a month i was better with no migraines. ...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Diana,

       

      I think that people don't understand about migraines because these days everyone says that when they have a headache the have a "migraine."  If they only understood!  I went through years of heck before I finally found a dr in Boston, MA that put me on a migraine diet.  I swear, In a little over a month i was better with no migraines.  I do get the occaisional pain in my eyes and head fom timee to time, but not even close to the pain it was before.  I gave up alot of things I love and never cheat, but it's so worth it!  I never thought the food we eat would have such a huge impact on me.

       

      Kathy

    • Diana Torres
      Nov. 08, 2008

      Hi Kathy-

       

      It's interesting that you mention a "Migraine Diet."

       

      I got interested in trying such a thing from reading this newsletter.  So, I started writing down everything I ate, everything I did, when I got migraines, and looking for patterns.

       

      I noticed: "Grain=pain," but there could be as much as a 24-hour delay.

       

      Dairy= be...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Kathy-

       

      It's interesting that you mention a "Migraine Diet."

       

      I got interested in trying such a thing from reading this newsletter.  So, I started writing down everything I ate, everything I did, when I got migraines, and looking for patterns.

       

      I noticed: "Grain=pain," but there could be as much as a 24-hour delay.

       

      Dairy= be wary.

       

      I couldn't each too much dairy, (although I could tolerate small amounts), as I just felt generally "yucky" and "sluggish" afterwards.

       

      I couldn't think of any ryhmes for these, but they were definite migraine triggers:

      - sulphites/sulphates (within 6 hours of eating dried fruits, I'd get a migraine)

      - "nutella" (that lovely chocolate spread I developed a hankering for after being on a student-exchange program in germany.  Sadly, I've had to give it up.)

      - MSG (yeah, everyone has this one.)

      - nitrates (so, no bacon, lunch, and most pre-packaged foods)

       

      So, what does that leave?

       

      Well, healthy stuff, really, and gluten-free cereal.  For breakfast, I have almond milk and gluten-free cereal.  For lunch, if I'm abitious, I have salad with some leftover meat, or an apple with peanut butter.  I'm busy or tired, I just have another bowl of cereal.  For dinner, we grill meat or fish, (nothing pre-packaged), and my son and husband have rice or pasta.  I always skip the pasta, sometimes have a teaspoon of rice, and then some vegetables.

       

      Wheat (gluten) is in so many things, like soy sauce, so its a real killer to avoid.  My husband is originally from the Philippines and likes to cook with soy sauce.  He buys the big bottle at costco.  I've had to retrain him to read ingredients and look for the words "gluten" in stuff.  He never used to read ingredient lists.

       

      But, I have cut down on my migraines from several a week to just several a month.  I still get my menstrual migraine, and I am probably still missing one or two more trigger foods, but what a difference!

       

      I have not given up coffee, or chocolate, so those may be the culprits, but, well, one things at a time.  I'm already feeling a bit limited with my choices at the moment, so I gotta' take it one step at a time. :)

       

      = Diana

       

    • Anonymous
      kathy
      Nov. 09, 2008

      Hi Diana,

       

      Ouch!  Caffeeine was huge for me giving up, but has mad a huge difference in my life.  You seem to do alot of the things I do, but i'm trying wheat and i avoid peanuts. 

       

      Have you read the book, Heal your Headache the 1-2-3 Program by David Buchholz?  It was amazing and helped me alot!  Also, there are great cookbooks...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Diana,

       

      Ouch!  Caffeeine was huge for me giving up, but has mad a huge difference in my life.  You seem to do alot of the things I do, but i'm trying wheat and i avoid peanuts. 

       

      Have you read the book, Heal your Headache the 1-2-3 Program by David Buchholz?  It was amazing and helped me alot!  Also, there are great cookbooks i bought from amazon out there.  When i first started in June of this year i basically was starving not knowing what to eat and not eat.  This helped too.

       

      I'm glad that i found this site and you it has helped alot!  Sometimes keeping on track isn't easy :)

  • Anonymous
    Kathleen Roberts
    Nov. 02, 2007

    They just can't relate.  I have had similar experiences and it is very aggrevating.  Not just pertaining to my migraines, but to my fibromyalgia as well.

     

    It is very annoying to have someone feel sorry for my healthy husband who has to get up very early for work each day.  Those same people act like I am a monster for not being all that...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    They just can't relate.  I have had similar experiences and it is very aggrevating.  Not just pertaining to my migraines, but to my fibromyalgia as well.

     

    It is very annoying to have someone feel sorry for my healthy husband who has to get up very early for work each day.  Those same people act like I am a monster for not being all that sympathetic to him.  Yet I lay awake every night, usually in pain and work more hours a day than he does.

     

    Unless a person has experienced the pain and suffering that you have, usually they can't relate.  If they can't relate, they see what you are going through as insignificant.  Of course this isn't the case with everyone, but it is the case far too often. 

    • dianacwolf
      Nov. 08, 2007
      Wow-- I guess this subject touched a nerve with a lot of us.

      I remember three years ago, when we were living by the seashore in Morro Bay, and the foggy damp weather was making my fibromyalgia and headaches really awful, my husband and I started having problems. It was the only time in the ten years we've been together that we've had marital problems. ...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      Wow-- I guess this subject touched a nerve with a lot of us.

      I remember three years ago, when we were living by the seashore in Morro Bay, and the foggy damp weather was making my fibromyalgia and headaches really awful, my husband and I started having problems. It was the only time in the ten years we've been together that we've had marital problems.  I tried to explain to him how poorly  I was feeling, and how this was impacting every part of my life, but he just didn't get it. He finally yelled: "Will you stop complaining?!"

      I was very hurt, and from then on, just decided I would keep everything inside, my hurt, my emotions, everything.  But, I wished so badly that he could just live inside my body for 24 hours so that he could have some perspective of what it was like to live in a body with both fibromyalgia and migraines.

      And, I wished I could exit my body, and live in a robot body that could feel no pain.  I didn't want to feel any more.  I was so tired of being in pain 24 x 7 that I was willing to give up all emotions if it meant I could get rid of the pain.

      It was finally my husband who suggested we move away from the beach.  He said that when we lived inland that I had bad headaches and backaches, but that everything got worse when we moved to the seashore.  He said that the cold, foggy weather must be making it worse.  He said maybe if we reversed the move, we could reverse some of the symptoms.  So, we sold our lovely home with the lovely sunset views of the ocean.  I cried as we drove away from our house, and we moved inland.

      Now, we live someplace hot and dry, and I rarely get to see the ocean.  But, I do feel better.  I still get migraines, and I still have fibromyalgia, but moving away from the cold, damp and the fog did help a lot.  So much so that now I am afraid to even visit the beach on a foggy day.  I am so afraid of the cold and damp bringing back those awful feelings I had when I lived in Morro Bay.  That awful desolation.  That feeling of wanting to be a robot to get away from the pain.

      The people we were friends with in Morro Bay want to know why we don't come visit, but I am afraid.

      My son, who is six, has been diagnosed with pediatric fibromyalgia.  He loves science, and has promised to come up with a cure for the disease when he grows up.  Maybe then I can visit there again, with my son by my side.

      You know how they have those fake pregnancy bellies for men to wear for a day so that they know what their pregnant wives are going through?  They should make fake migraine things, or fibromyalgia bodies for spouses to wear for a day so they know what we live with every single day.

      Except-- I don't think any of them would last a single hour under such torture.

      Not one hour.  And, I don't think there is any such device that can truly replicate what we go through.  Do you? - Diana 

Most Popular

http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/cf/slideshows/migraine-prodrome-symptoms
Understanding Migraines
14 Migraine Prodrome Symptoms