Ten Things to Never Do or Say to a Person with Migraines

Managing migraines is an enormous challenge, but it can be even harder to deal with people that don't understand what you are going through. Expert patient Nicole explains.

  1. Never, ever tell them that your mother's dog walker's cousin did great on that medication that is advertised in your favorite weekly. Chances are that they know about it, have tried it, and they failed.

  2. This goes with #1- never ever, ever tell a person with migraines that if they just wished that they didn't have migraines they would just stop. Again, chances are the the person has wished that, many, many many times. And, since they still have migraines it obviously didn't work.

  3. This applies more to those of us with chronic problems, but never say that you had one once and you know how they feel. No, you don't. The unrelenting pain that chronic migraines gives a person is unlike anything, even childbirth. Trust me, I've been there twice. My migraines are worse than the pain I felt when I had an emergency c-section without full anesthesia.

  4. This is for all the perfume snipers that work malls. If someone says no, I don't want a spray, please, for the love of Pete, do not spray them. I know that you have quotas, I know that it is your job, but please. We run the other direction for a reason. This goes for the lotion kiosk people too.

  1. Don't lie to us about what is in food. If we ask if there is MSG, or any other trigger in the food we are about to eat, be honest. Let us decide if it will hurt us, or won't. Food triggers can be a big thing for some of us, and if we ingest a trigger, we have to wait it out of our system. Not fun.

  2. Please, understand if you have a friend who can't do something because their head hurts. Migraines can be crippling, and the last thing anyone with migraines needs is guilt because they can't do something. We know our limits. We know when doing something is going to make things worse. We know if something is ok, and when it isn't. Be understanding. That's all most of us ask.

  3. Don't tell a person with migraines what they should do. At all. We all know our bodies pretty well, and chances are if we are talking openly about them, we have tried everything. This ties in with #1, as well. Don't suggest things. If we are opening up to you, it means that we want you to understand, not throw more things out to us.

  1. Please don't tell us that we need to drink more water. Most of us drink plenty, because we watch what goes into us. I know I always have water with me. I drink plenty, and am still in pain.

  2. This is more for women then men, but please, I beg you, do not tell us it is because of our period. I get that menstrual migraines are very common, but chances are unless you are a really close friend we aren't going to go into our cycle with you. And please, don't tell me that- I had a hysterectomy.

This brings us to #10. This is an easy one. Don't, under any circumstances, sing "I wear my sunglasses" to us if we have them on all the time. It's not to look cool, it's to keep our incredibly sensitive eyes from adding to what is already going on. Besides, we've heard that one before.