About migraine

Migraine is a disabling primary headache disorder and the third most common disease in the world among men and women. 

 

Migraine disproportionately affects people of working age, peaking among those aged 30-40. [1] Globally, the condition is also the highest cause of years lived with disability (YLDs) amongst those aged 15-49.[2] This is generally when people are at their most productive, furthering their careers and starting families. Migraine can therefore have a huge impact on people’s career paths and the economy more broadly.

 

For many people the main feature of migraine is a painful headache. Other symptoms include disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound and smells, feeling sick and vomiting. Migraine attacks can be very frightening and may result in you having to lie still for several hours.

 

The symptoms will vary from person to person and individuals may have different symptoms during different attacks. Your attacks may differ in length and frequency. Migraine attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours and most people are free from symptoms between attacks. Migraine can have an enormous impact on your work, family and social lives.

 

Different types of migraine[3]:

 

The most common types of migraine fall into two categories:

 

1. Migraine with aura

 

People who experience ‘migraine with aura’ will have many or all the symptoms of a ‘migraine without aura‘ and additional neurological symptoms which develop over a 5 to 20 minute period and last less than an hour.

 

2. Migraine without aura

 

The headache is usually on one side of the head with a throbbing or pulsating pain which affects your normal daily life and will worsen when you take every day exercise such as walking or climbing stairs. These attacks can last between 4 and 72 hours when untreated or unsuccessfully treated.

 

As shown by Figure 2, migraine disproportionately affects people of working age, peaking at 30-40 years.[4] This is generally when people are at their most productive, furthering their careers and starting families and, therefore, it has important implications for the career paths of people with migraine, but also employers and the UK economy in general.[5]

 

Figure 2

 

 


 

[1] Steiner, T. J., Scher, A. I., Stewart, W. F., Kolodner, K., Liberman, J., & Lipton, R. B. (2003). The prevalence and disability burden of adult migraine in England and their relationships to age, gender and ethnicity. Cephalalgia, 23(7), 519–527.

[2] Steiner, T. J., Stovner L.J., Vos.T. (2016). GBD 2015: migraine is the third cause of disability in under 50s. (Journal of Headache and Pain) 2016; 17(1): 104. [Accessed 28 Mar. 2018]

[3] The Migraine Trust. (2018). More than "just a headache" - The Migraine Trust. [online] Available at: https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/migraine-what-is-it/more-than-just-a-headache/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

[4] Steiner, T. J., Scher, A. I., Stewart, W. F., Kolodner, K., Liberman, J., & Lipton, R. B. (2003). The prevalence and disability burden of adult migraine in England and their relationships to age, gender and ethnicity. Cephalalgia, 23(7), 519–527.

[5] APPG on Primary Headache Disorders. (2010). Headache Disorders - not respected, not resourced.