Do migraines mean you're missing out
on the moments that matter?
Nearly a third of migraine sufferers report regular nausea and vomiting with their headaches,1,2 which can interfere with the effectiveness of oral treatments.2 Sound familiar? If you're missing out on work, social life and precious moments with your family,2 talk to your doctor about other available options.
1. Silberstein SD. Headache 1995; 35(7): 387–96.  2. Gladstone JP and Dodick DW. Practical Neurology 2004; 4: 6–19.
your migraine
When migraines stop you from actively participating in your life, it is time for you to do something.

The migraine calendar is designed to help you document your pain, symptoms and medication. This documentation will help you better understand your migraine and find the right treatment together with your doctor.
Talking to your doctor
about your migraines
It can be hard to get across how badly migraines affect you and your life. Below are some tips for communicating your problems with migraines to your doctor.9
Making yourself heard
  • Go prepared, have a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. Click the button below for a full list.
Beckah's story
Erin's story
Jen's story
Edward's story
  • Beckah's story
  • Erin's story
  • Jen's story
  • Edward's story
Beckah, UK

I had never had a migraine in my life until 8 years ago—I got a headache that just wouldn't shift. There seemed no rhyme or reason as to why this started—but I haven't had a single day since where, to a greater or lesser degree, I haven't had a headache, or chronic migraine as I now have the official diagnosis. It's hard not to feel sad. There's sadness when I stop coping for a minute and just consider my chronic migraine.

I feel sad for the days, weeks, months of my life that I've lost just being on a sofa in excruciating pain; unable to ease it no matter what drug I took, and I've taken the lot!

Sad that every time I try a new treatment, whether it's occipital nerve blocks, muscle paralysing injections, or even alternative and holistic therapies, they don't work, and my desperate hopes are dashed again.

But most of all I'm sad about the person my chronic migraine has made me. I'm still me, of course, but a half-light version of myself. When I am blessed with the rare day of a low-level headache, I start to feel like the old me, like my real self, and my joy starts to bubble to the top. Then, when the pain inevitably returns again, I go back to coping, not living once more. My temper is shorter, my humour less, all the room in my brain for creativity and inspiration is taken up by me fighting the drills I can feel boring into my temples.

I still believe that one day the right treatment will come along to lift this from me, or maybe it'll just go away as mysteriously as it started. I just hope I don't have to wait another eight years.

Erin, UK

I started having migraines 15 years ago when I hit puberty – as if it wasn’t rough enough. I get them once or twice a month, lasting anywhere between four hours to two days.

In the last year, I’ve worked out that my migraines are related to my menstrual cycle. Realising this has been a huge help in managing my migraines. I’ve also come to realise that specific things can relieve my symptoms, such as getting fresh air, exercising to release tension in my shoulders and limiting caffeine intake. Even though I can’t stop migraines from coming, it’s good to know there are things I can do that help alleviate my symptoms.

Having migraines affects me most at work as, like most of us, I spend the majority of the day looking at a screen. I often find talking to people on the phone can be much harder when I’m having a migraine. I do my best to plough through until half past five, taking regular breaks from the screen, and then I go straight home to sit in a dark room and do absolutely nothing until it has passed.

Even though my colleagues are sympathetic, they can’t really empathise. I actually find that telling people about my migraines weighs me down, so I often tend to keep it to myself when I’m suffering with one at work. When I think back to my life before migraines, I remember being unable to understand what migraines were like – and now I know all too well. This is probably the most frustrating thing about having migraines: people don’t really understand just how bad they can be, and that they’re more than ‘just’ a headache.

Jen, UK

My migraines first started at uni, though they’ve become noticeably worse since I started working full time. I think this is probably down to concentrating on one thing all day, whether it’s a computer or a piece of work. If I catch it early, I’m usually okay, but being busy at work means its not always possible; as a result, they usually last around 24 hours, plus another day to recuperate.

I tend to manage my migraines with painkillers from the supermarket. The only trouble is how nauseous they can leave me feeling – this is a tell-tale sign that I’m experiencing a migraine. When I get one, the only thing that makes it better is getting into a dark, quiet room and sleeping…unfortunately, this isn’t something I can do in the office when I have deadlines. I also find it difficult to talk to people when I’m having a migraine, which is annoying.

The thing I find most frustrating about having migraines is the time I have to take off work. Because people don’t tend to understand the severity of migraine symptoms, I often feel a bit pathetic for needing time off. The flipside of this is that people who also suffer from migraines are incredibly understanding, which is invaluable. The worst time was having to miss a free three course dinner, with drinks, because of a migraine. Thanks a lot!

Generally, I manage with my migraines fairly well. I’m planning on speaking to my doctor about alternative treatments that can get around the nausea caused by migraines – fingers crossed I find something that works for me.

Edward, South Africa

When l was growing up with a family with a rather more English outlook we had tea frequently, l'd say 4-5 times a day.

When l missed one of these tea sessions l would get an excruciating headache, start vomiting and sweating up until l had that cup of tea. The relief wasn't instant, l had to sleep it off.

As l grew older and kicked the tea habit, l think it has just become worse. I can feel it coming with a slight headache. l always pray nothing comes of it but l am always wrong. So l avoid eating during such times as l know throwing up is next. I only seem to get some relief after throwing up, it takes hours though. In a week, l have headaches at least 6 days and my social life has gone to the garter as my temper is very high most of the time. I can never enjoy a simple beer as l know what it comes with.

I begin to feel very thirsty with short breath. By the way, l work long hours at home. Being alone seems to help a lot. I am very irritable around people, so my relationships are non-existent. I tend to lose focus on important matters as l focus on this headache situation.

Additional support
There may be many local support groups in your area. We have selected a few groups which have very useful information and advice. If you'd like your organisation to appear on our page, please contact us.


  1. Silberstein SD. Headache 1995; 35(7): 387-96.
  2. Gladstone JP and Dodick DW. Practical Neurology 2004; 4: 6-19.
  3. NHS UK. Migraine causes. Available from: Last accessed July 2019.
  4. Kelman L. Cephalagia 2007; 27(5): 394-402
  5. Sacco S, et al. J Headache Pain 2018; 19: 76.
  6. NHS UK. Hormone headaches. Available from: Last accessed September 2018.
  7. Steiner T et al. J Headache Pain 2007; 8: 53.
  8. The Migraine Trust. Visiting your GP. Available from: Last accessed September 2018.
  9. The Migraine Trust. Keeping a migraine diary. Available from: Last accessed September 2018.