June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

Rest and Relaxation

June marks an important occasion for millions around the globe as it’s designated as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. This dedicated time serves as a poignant reminder of the pervasive impact these conditions have on individuals, families, and communities worldwide.

Migraines and headaches are not merely occasional inconveniences; they are debilitating conditions that can significantly diminish one’s quality of life. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines affect over 1 billion people globally, making it the third most prevalent illness in the world. Meanwhile, tension-type headaches are even more widespread, affecting nearly 80% of individuals at some point in their lives.

Despite their prevalence, migraines and headaches often suffer from misconceptions and stigma. For those who have never experienced the throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea that accompanies a migraine attack, it can be challenging to grasp the severity of the condition. This lack of understanding can lead to dismissive attitudes, further exacerbating the suffering of those affected.

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month aims to change this narrative by fostering education, understanding, and support. It’s a time to amplify the voices of individuals living with migraines and headaches, to share their stories, and to advocate for better treatment options and resources.

One crucial aspect of raising awareness is dispelling myths surrounding migraines and headaches. Contrary to popular belief, migraines are not just severe headaches; they are a neurological disorder with a complex set of symptoms and triggers. Similarly, tension-type headaches are not simply caused by stress; they can stem from a variety of factors, including muscle tension, poor posture, or even certain foods.

Furthermore, it’s essential to recognize the diverse experiences within the migraine and headache community. While some may find relief through medication or lifestyle changes, others may struggle to find effective treatment options. Additionally, the impact of these conditions extends beyond physical pain, affecting mental health, employment, and relationships.

As we observe National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, let’s commit to listening, learning, and supporting those affected by these conditions. Whether it’s advocating for more research funding, promoting workplace accommodations, or simply offering a compassionate ear, every effort counts in the journey toward greater awareness and understanding. Together, we can work towards a future where migraines and headaches no longer hold individuals back from living their fullest lives.

June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

Our role in home health and hospice is to meet the needs of our patients where they are and help them achieve their goals. Managing the debilitating side effects of chronic headaches and migraines in the elderly is a unique skill that requires our attention for home health recovery and supporting the patient through symptoms while on hospice.  In the realm of home health, successful management of migraines is critical as there is an increased risk for stroke and other neurological symptoms if left untreated; in fact, poorly treated migraines often resulting in the severity intensifying which impacts quality of life (Curto et al., 2018).  Part of the management involves assessment of body weight, hydration needs, muscle/fat ratios, and albumin levels; each of these is vital in advocating for pharmacological solutions and identifying environmental factors which may be impacting the patient’s management of their condition (Wijeratne et al., 2019; Curto et al., 2018). Further, routine medication reviews address common challenges in the geriatric population for low treatment adherence resulting in suboptimal health outcomes (Wang & Wang, 2021). Addressing these concerns may result in further determination of other underlying conditions that may be a cause for headaches, such as elevated blood pressures (Wang & Wang, 2021).  Knowing these elements, aids providers in creating comprehensive strategies for their patients. Finally, medication reviews also help to address misuse of prescribed medications in the management of migraines in the elderly (de Rijk et al., 2017).  Home health completes regular medication reviews and access to healthcare professionals to train proper dosing and administration.

If you are looking to learn more, check out these resources:

https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/head.13247

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11916-021-00976-x#citeas

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/494758

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14656566.2018.1543660