10 Things NOT to Say to a Person with Migraines

by Chris Regal Editor

Managing Migraines is an enormous challenge, but it can be even harder to deal with people who don't understand what you're going through.

Various medications.
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Suggesting medications

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 the drug failed.

Making a wish on a dandelion.
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Wish it away

Never, ever tell a person with Migraines that if they just wished that they didn't have Migraines, they would stop. Again, chances are the person has wished that many, many times. And since they still have Migraines, it obviously didn't work.

Man putting his hand on a friend's shoulder.
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'I know how you feel'

Never say that you had one once and you know how they feel. No, you don't. The unrelenting pain that chronic Migraines give a person is unlike anything, even childbirth.

Glass bottle of perfume spraying mist.
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Listen to me!

This is for all the perfume snipers that work at 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 this is your job. We run in the other direction for a reason. This goes for the lotion kiosk people too.

Eating lo mein out of a Chinese take out box.
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Food triggers

Don't lie to us about what is in food. If we ask if there is MSG or any other trigger in the food that we are about to eat, be honest. Let us decide if it will or won't hurt us. 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.

Woman in bed with a migraine.
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Social aspects

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 for not being able to do something. We know our limits. We know when something is going to make things worse. Please be understanding.

Two friends arguing with each other.
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Don't tell me what to do

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. Don't suggest things. If we are opening up to you, it means that we want you to understand, not to throw more things at us.

Pouring water into a glass.
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Hydration

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 always have water with me. I drink plenty and am still in pain.

Women holding a sanitary napkin and tampon.
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Menstrual cycles

This is more for women than 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.

Woman wearing sunglasses outside in a city.
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Sunglasses

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.

Chris Regal
Meet Our Writer
Chris Regal

Christopher Regal is a former Web Producer for a variety of conditions on HealthCentral.com, including osteoarthritis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, Migraine, and prostate health. He edited, wrote, and managed writers for the website. He joined HealthCentral in November 2009 after time spent working for a political news organization. Chris is a graduate of the Catholic University of America and is a native of Albany, New York.