People encouraged to seek help for migraine

Most believe condition will hold them back
  • Deborah Condon

Almost 70% of people living with migraine in Ireland believe that the condition will continue to interrupt their lives this year in areas such as work and relationships, a new survey from the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) has found.

The findings were released to coincide with the launch of a new awareness campaign, Tame Your Migraine, which aims to encourage those affected to proactively seek support from doctors, pharmacists and the MAI.

Migraine is the most common neurological condition in the world, affecting 12-15% of the population. Severe headaches can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, confusion and visual disturbances, known as aura.

Some people may only be affected once or twice a year, while others are affected weekly. An attack can last from four to 72 hours.

According to the findings of the survey, 68% of people believe that the condition will continue to hold them back this year. The aspects of their lives that they are most concerned about are day-today work activities (75%), relationships with family/friends (68%), social life (46%) exercising (43%), career progression (32%) and studying (23%).

Furthermore, according to MAI chief executive, Patrick Little, many people living with migraine have experienced an increase in severity and frequency since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're seeing now the knock-on effect that this is having on individuals' self-confidence. It's unfortunate to see that so many in our community feel they've lost control of their condition," he commented.

He urged people to contact the MAI if they feel like they are struggling to cope or have any questions.

Those affected are also encouraged to contact a healthcare professional if they have concerns.

According to consultant neurologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dr Martin Ruttledge, while GP practices are under pressure because of the pandemic, and some people might be worried about making contact as a result, "your concerns and medical needs are important to us as doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals".

"I have talked with many patients throughout the years who have become frustrated and lost hope, convinced there was nothing that could be done for them. To those out there feeling the same right now, there is hope and there are better treatments available. Have an open conversation with your GP or healthcare provider about managing your migraine," Dr Ruttledge said.

Those surveyed also shared what works for them when it comes to managing their migraine. Some of the top tips included keeping a migraine diary to identify triggers, reducing stress, maintaining a good sleep routine, staying hydrated and exercising regularly.

The survey involved 216 adults living with migraine in Ireland and it was carried out in December 2020 and January 2021

For more information on the Tame Your Migraine campaign, click here. For more information on the MAI, click here, call 1850 200 378 or email

*Pictured at the launch of the campaign is RTÉ broadcaster Evanne Ní Chuilinn, who has experienced migraines since the age of six


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