National Migraine Awareness Month: More Than Just a Headache

Patient Expert

Each day, approximately 430,000 people are unable to go to work because of a Migraine. In a year, that adds up to 157 million lost work days and industry losses of $31 billion.

There are more than 37 million Migraineurs in America, yet Migraine disease remains misunderstood, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. The stigma that remains attached is so strong that participants in a study about Migraine and stigma scored higher on the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness than a mixed panel of patients with chronic neurologic diseases - stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's disease.1

June is National Migraine Awareness Month (NMAW), and the National Headache Foundation (NHF) has launched an awareness campaign - More Than Just a Headache - to educate the public on the personal and societal costs of Migraine and to provide resources for Migraineurs and their families. Bob Dalton, executive director of the NHF, commented:

"National Migraine Awareness Month is long overdue for the attention it deserves. The tens of millions of people in this country who battle this devastating disease merit the same kind of support and understanding that others receive for conditions generally thought of as 'more serious.' This past week in Washington DC, we heard the testimony of a Migraineur who is also a breast cancer survivor; she considers Migraine to be the greater challenge by far. Until the public as a whole recognizes what people with   Migraine achieve each day just by carrying on a normal life, NHF and other advocates for   Migraineurs have their work cut out for them."2

Serene Branson, the CBS reporter whose on-air Migraine earlier this year demonstrated how frightening and debilitating a Migraine can be, has partnered with the NHF to raise awareness and drive the More Than Just a Headache campaign. I spoke with Miss Branson last week about her Migraines and awareness month. You can read more about that interview in _ Serene Branson on Migraines and Awareness Month _.

Each of us needs to be diligent in working to educate ourselves and others about Migraine and to become active in building awareness. National Migraine Awareness Month is the perfect time to do so.

  • Visit the NHF site and submit your "Migraine Moment." The NHF will select stories to feature in upcoming issues of their quarterly magazine, "Head Wise." You can enter your "moment" from their _awareness month page _.
  • Visit the NHF site and check out the information on their _regional educational conferences _. These conferences are great. The morning is for physician education, and the afternoon is for patients and their families and friends. Keep an eye on that page of their site to watch for new locations and dates to be added.
  • Make a donation to your favorite Migraine and headache organization. Some fund research; some fund educational opportunities; all serve us well and need our support.
  • Sign up for the email mailing list of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. That mailing list is used to notify us when there are emails we can send to Congress about issues important to Migraine awareness and research. Just visit the _AHDA subscription page _.
  • Are you on Facebook or Twitter? When you see good Migraine information online, share the link on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about National Migraine Awareness Month, visit our _Awareness Month Special _.


1 Park J.E.; Kempner J.; Young W.B. "The Stigma of Migraine." Poster presentation. 52nd annual meeting of the American Headache Society. Los Angeles. June, 2010.

2 Interview. Teri Robert with Robert Dalton, Executive Director of the National Headache Foundation. June 9, 2011.

Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD

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