“I’m fine,” is a phrase Kelsey Voskamp, Colorado resident, used many times in her life while pushing through what she thought were just headaches. Like many others who are misdiagnosed or undertreated, Voskamp didn’t realize she experienced a neurological disease called migraine and didn’t know how to explain to her family, and even her doctor, how debilitating her migraine attacks were.
Migraine can have a large impact on a person’s life. But putting on a brave face to push through the symptoms isn’t a solution.
Why do so many people hesitate to seek care for their migraine symptoms?
There are a variety of reasons why people with migraine are underdiagnosed and undertreated. Often times, people experiencing symptoms such as light and sound sensitivity, and nausea with a significant disabling headache don’t recognize it as migraine.
The recent OVERCOME study, presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society revealed that among those who experienced these migraine symptoms, approximately half hesitated to seek care, and even fewer received a diagnosis and received the treatment they needed.
“I didn’t realize there was a name for what I was experiencing until I spoke with my doctor,” said Voskamp, “Having the right diagnosis can make all the difference.”
Think, Talk, Treat Migraine
Eli Lilly and Company launched Think Talk Treat Migraine to empower people with migraine and their doctors to have better conversations that can lead to proper diagnosis and care. The next time you have a headache, remember to THINK, TALK and TREAT migraine, a simple algorithm to help guide conversations about the impact of migraine with your doctor:
Migraine is more than a bad headache. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it’s a complex neurological disease, typically characterized by severe throbbing, recurring pain that frequently occurs on one side of the head, and other extremely debilitating symptoms that can impact one’s ability to complete daily activities or are accompanied by sensitivity to light, and/or nausea.
If these are symptoms you experience, think migraine. Ask your doctor about migraine if your headaches have limited your ability to complete activities, if you’ve experienced nausea with a headache and/or are sensitive to light.
If you experience at least two of these symptoms with your headaches, there is a greater chance you might have migraine.
Due to migraine, Voskamp sometimes has to miss work and shares with her doctor that she feels like she is not fully functioning because of symptoms that impact her day. A short discussion with your doctor can determine if you need medication(s) to help relieve headache attacks or reduce their frequency.
Talk with your doctor about how headaches have impacted your life. Be sure to point out key symptoms that are bothering you:
• Headaches limit your normal daily activities – especially if it has happened any day in the last three months
• You push through headache on a regular basis
• You are nauseated when you have a headache
• Light bothers you when you have a headache
Understanding the frequency and impact of migraine on daily activities can help inform the treatment decision that is right for you.
Working with your doctor to treat migraine based on your individual symptoms can make all the difference. The level of migraine treatment that your doctor recommends depends on impact to daily activities:
• If you have headache accompanied by impact on your daily activities, sensitivity to light, and/or nausea one or more days per month: acute treatment could be recommended.
• If you have headache accompanied by impact on your daily activities, sensitivity to light, and/or nausea four or more days per month: acute and preventive treatment could be recommended.
Following diagnosis of migraine, it’s important to treat early and effectively for best results, according to the American Headache Society.
For more information on the Think, Talk, Treat Algorithm and other tools and resources on migraine, visit ThinkMigraine.com.