Complex Migraine Headache

Written by Holly Hazen

Complex Migraine Headache

It's Not Just Pain! World Health Organization (WHO) rates Complex Migraine Headache as a leading cause of disability worldwide. It is not just unpredictable pain.

Overall what I know is that it is: isolating, intense, extremely painful and hard to deal with, threatening, destabilizing and emotional.

It involves: grief and loss - loss of self, loss of identity, loss of social connection, loss of abilities; limited social support, financial difficulties, and unseen pain and trauma.

Lets Face It – Complex Migraine Headaches Fall Into The "Too Hard Basket"

These statistics from Teri Robert in the book Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches astound me:

We are familiar with this one - 15-18 percent of women and 6-8 percent of men suffer migraine. But the actual numbers look more like 33 million migraineurs in the US, more than 7.5 million in the UK, and more than 4 million in Canada.

That is 44.5 million people just in those 3 countries alone that suffer from migraine. The complex and difficult migraine is, in the US alone, estimated to be costing $13 billion dollars per year in sick days and absenteeism.

What We Know About Complex Migraines

What we know is that the attacks can vary from mild to intense to life threatening aneurysms or strokes.

We migraineurs are at twice the risk of stroke than those individuals free from this condition.

We know that the symptoms of migraine vary greatly from one individual to the next making diagnosis and effective treatment difficult.

We know that there is a huge misconception around migraines being just headaches. We know that you can just not understand the pain involved if you have never had a migraine.

We know that there is a huge difference between migraines and headaches. Hence the name "Complex." The International Headache Society says “if your headaches lasts between four and 72 hours (untreated), and if it includes two of the following:

  • one-sided pain,
  • throbbing pain,
  • pain that’s increased by physical activity,
  • or pain that is strong enough to stop you living your normal life

– you are probably suffering a migraine”. If this is accompanied by some other symptoms like nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, movement, or smell, then “your headache is probably a migraine”.

It is so important to get a correct diagnosis. Over the counter headache tablets may make a migraine worse. You have to know what you have so you can treat it effectively.

Did You Know There Are 4 Phases?

We also know that complex migraines actually have 4 phases that are moved through. It's not just the pain phase that most people are familiar with and can see.

1. The Prodrome

2. The Aura

3. The Pain

4. The Postdrome

For more details on these phases, please read my article - The 4 Phases of Complex Migraine Headache. It goes into much more depth.

How To Find Effective Relief

I have found treating my migraines with ice and heat to be the most effective of all treatments.

Using both at the same time can abort an attack.

If you haven't yet tried this .... stop reading now and make sure you are ready for the next attack.

These all work for me. Give one a try.

Until next time, be well and be pain free.

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