Monday, May 15, 2017

Not "JUST" a Headache is an Inadequate Description of Migraine


I know this may be an unpopular post for many migraineurs, but I've got to say it:

I don't like the "not just a headache" thing. In fact, it drives me nuts. Why?

Because it's incorrect, and it still basically says that "migraine = headache plus some other things."

Migraine is not a "headache + some other things."
Migraine = NOT a headache at all.
Migraine = complicated neurological genetic disorder with a plethora of possible symptoms...one of which MAY or may not be pain. 
 
Not all migraineurs have head pain as a symptom.
Some migraineurs have abdominal pain instead of head pain. 
And no matter where you fall on the symptomatic spectrum, migraine attacks can be disabling, with or without pain. 

I really have to wonder how much we ourselves add to misconceptions and stigma by embracing the "not JUST a headache" movement. Why of all things did this become our rallying cry? Was this how we thought it would be more relatable to non migraineurs? 
Because if so, I think it's pretty much proven otherwise.

And worse, not only does it not make it easier for others to relate, it excludes many migraineurs and contributes to lack of knowledge and misconceptions, even within the migraine community.

Why are we using a phrase that limits migraine to a "headache + some other things" when we already feel we're not taken seriously as having a real illness?