In this video clip, people share their first experiences of migraine and describe the pain that accompanies them. They also share the frequency that they experience migraines.
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LIVING WITH MIGRANES Diagnosis
Jenna - Um, I’ve been experiencing
migraines for about 17 years, from what I can remember.
Um, apparently I was getting them from when I was about in Grade 3, Grade 2, from what my mum’s told me. But the first ones I remember are from 17 years ago.
James - I’ve experienced them in two parts. So I had them a lot in high school, when I was... probably about 20 years ago or so, when I was a teenager.
So I suffered through probably one a month or two a month at times through high school, and then just when I turned 18 they stopped and went away.
Then in my, probably, mid to early 20s, so about six or seven years ago, I began to experience them again and, strangely enough, in a different sort of way. So when I was younger, I would just get a terrible headache and nausea and vomiting and the whole works, and no warning that they were coming, whereas once I got them in my adult life, I began to get the flashing lights at the beginning and still the bad headache, but no nausea or vomiting.
Helen - I recall, actually, distinctly the first time that I got this sensation of pain in my head that wouldn’t go away as ordinarily as a headache would... that would be helped with, say, ordinary paracetamol, and I didn’t know at the time to call it migraine because it was my first experience, and that happened on hearing some shocking news.
So later on, on reflection, I realised that it was sudden stress.
Malcolm - Oh, I’ve been suffering migraines for basically 29 years now. I’ve got them since... Started in my early 20s. Um, I knew fairly quickly that I was getting migraines because you knew what a headache was. But when I started working, I had to walk through these air curtains and, basically, within three or four months of working there and experiencing what I thought was dead air when I walked between them I started getting very serious headaches, you know, the pinpricks, somebody trying to bash an icepick out from the inside of your skull sort of thing, and I knew that was different.
So after the first one, where I basically collapsed on the ground because I didn’t know what... I thought it was just a bad migraine...a bad headache and I went to the doctor’s and he said, “Oh, yeah. You’ve got sinus migraines.”
Fiona - I didn’t get a formal diagnosis until about 10 years ago, I don’t think. But I think I was getting them in my 20s and I didn’t know what it was, so I was always blaming it
on food poisoning or...or a reactionary stomach. But I think they were migraines, even back when I was in my early 20s.
Tia - It was about, um... 12 years ago, I think, about 12 years ago that I really started to have
a lot of trouble with them, when I was around about my mid-40s, 46 or something,
and I think, retrospectively, I think it was related to probably fluctuating hormones, oestrogen levels.
James - I have noticed, ‘cause I suffer from headaches a lot as well as migraines, there is quite a few differences between the two.
So a lot of people may have a bad headache and think it’s a migraine, or vice versa and they may actually have a migraine but not realise it. The main differences that I’ve noticed between them is the headache is generally more at the front of the head and often to one side or the other, and the pain is more throbbing, for me, than constant, and the light.
When I have a headache bright lights are annoying but they’re not so sharp and just don’t really pound your skull like when you have a migraine.
Jenna - It feels almost like having someone hitting you in the head with a sledgehammer repeatedly for hours and hours and hours without the bruising. It’s not something I would wish upon anyone.
Tia - The sensation I have is just total pain everywhere. Um, I think in the past I have been aware of a throbbing, but now it’s just...it’s just pain. I think it probably centred
around...behind the eyes. Um, but just it makes you beyond being able to do anything and the only thing you’re aware of is the pain.
Fiona - I get a headache that shifts around and, generally, on one side of the head quite a sharp sort of a pain, but it’ll move throughout the course of the migraine, um, and the...probably the worst part is the vomiting and just not being able to function.
Tia - If one gets out of control, it will be a 12-hour process. That’s most recently.
James - At the moment I’m getting migraines about four times a year. So that’s sort of been fairly constant for probably the last five years now.
Jenna - At my worst, I probably have a migraine a week that lasts me two to three days.
At my best... I think the best I’ve gone is two and a half months without a migraine, and that was a pretty good two and a half months.