Making migraines visible
Any time, all the time, is the right time for Migraine Awareness, and no effort is too small. Advocacy efforts are like change in a jar. Even the smallest efforts add up and can accomplish great things.
We know it is a genetic neurological disease. We know that Migraines are not vascular in origin, but are most likely caused by genetics and a wave of abnormal irregular activity called cortical spreading depression. Rather than thinking that dilation of blood vessels are the cause of Migraine pain, we now know that a Migraine can occur with NO vasodilation.
Migraine disease affects women, men, girls, boys, young, old, all economic and social backgrounds. It doesn't discriminate. Here are some statistics.
The stigma associated with Migraine makes the burden more difficult to live with, and both the burden and the stigma are worse for people with chronic Migraine than for those with episodic Migraine.
Imagine being in pain more often than not. That's the life of a person with Chronic Migraine, which affects approximately 3.2 million Americans. Many of these Migraineurs are in pain every day with a Migraine or headache.
How can we help make Migraines visible? There are many ways. Everyone can help. Let's take a look at some of the things we can do...
We can help make Migraines visible by taking every opportunity to share information. Whether it's online, books, pamphlets from doctors or nonprofit organizations, every bit of information we share helps dispel myths and misconceptions and helps other people "get it."
When we know more about Migraines, we have more information to share with other people, so learning more about Migraines is another method of making Migraines more visible. Another benefit is that it helps us be more capable of working as treatment partners with our doctors.
A very "visible" way of making Migraines more visible is by wearing PURPLE, the awareness color for Migraine and other headache disorders. Walk around dressed like a grape often enough, and people WILL ask why. Our awareness color is newly recognized. A website was established to start listing where you can find awareness items as they become available. It's www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.
Social media tools are making it easier than ever to get information out. We can help make Migraines more visible by using many online tools. Twitter and Facebook are great tools. Blogging is also a great way. Build a network of like-minded friends to help retweet and pass around your Facebook links. You'll be amazed at how far things can go!
One of the best ways to help make Migraines visible is by being open about our own Migraines. We often feel like hiding our Migranes because of the stigma, but until Migraines are more visible and better understood, the stigma is going to remain.