We hope you are as excited as we are. The largest virtual patient event in the world for migraine and headache disorders starts tomorrow, Wednesday, March 16, in your local time zone equivalent of 3:00 PM US Eastern Time (New York, USA). The interviews will be available for a full 24 hours in every time zone worldwide.

Check out our quick tips to make sure you’re ready for this once-a-year event:

Is the Summit still free? Yes!

How do I calculate the exact time the Summit starts in my area?

Click here to open a time converter that will show the exact time the program will start each day in your time zone. Just fill in the large blue box with your specific area and the converter will tell you what time 3:00 pm, New York is where you live–the start time of the day’s events. The Summit will start each day in your locality at that time.

How long will each day’s interviews be available?

We’ve made the interviews available for free in every time zone globally for a full 24-hours. For example, if you lived in Auckland, NZ, east of the international date line, and had typed Auckland into the blue box, you would see the Summit starts there on 3/17 at 8:00 am. It will start at that time every day of the Summit and you will have a full day to watch the interviews.

How can I become more familiar with the Summit schedule?

Each day of the Summit we’ll email you a link to that day’s interviews. If you don’t want to miss an interview, you can add the day to your calendar by using the Add to Calendar button at the top of each day’s schedule.

How do I read the Summit tips?

The Summit Tips Page will help you get the most out of the Summit. Here you’ll find information about how the Summit works, how to comment on an interview, and much more. You’ll also find out about special features of the Summit, including Learning Tracks and how to request further information about a product or treatment mentioned during an interview.

Does the Summit have a Frequently Asked Questions page?

If you have a question about the Summit, our FAQ page may provide the answer. But if not, feel free to send a message to one of our Community Support Ambassadors using the “Let’s Talk” box at the bottom right of any page.

How do I make certain that your emails are arriving in my inbox?

You want to make sure our emails land in your inbox and not in your junk or spam folder. Add info@migraineworldsummit.com to your contacts or safe sender list so you don’t miss any emails from us.

What if I want future unlimited access to interviews: when does early-bird pricing end?

If you’d like unlimited access to all the videos, transcripts, audio files, treatment directory and more, this is your last chance to take advantage of early-bird pricing. Get up to 24% off your order. Hurry! Offer ends tomorrow (March 16th) at 3:00 pm Eastern time. You can still purchase unlimited access at any time after that, but without the early bird pricing.

See you tomorrow!

Kind regards,

Paula K. Dumas and Carl Cincinnato

Co-Hosts, Migraine World Summit
Phone: 1-888-525-6449
Email: info@migraineworldsummit.com
Web: www.migraineworldsummit.com

See you tomorrow!

Kind regards,

Paula K. Dumas and Carl Cincinnato

Co-Hosts, Migraine World Summit
Phone: 1-888-525-6449
Email: info@migraineworldsummit.com
Web: www.migraineworldsummit.com

Alcohol as a migraine trigger

Here is an excellent article published by The Migraine Trust. Worthy of a read if you are a sufferer.

By: Rachel Baxter, Communications Officer, The Migraine Trust

11th January 2022

With Christmas over and Dry January in full swing, you might be noticing differences in your migraine attacks if you’ve drunk more or less than normal recently. If there seems to be a connection between alcohol and your migraine, you’re not alone. About a third of people with migraine find that alcohol can trigger their attacks, while about 10 percent find it triggers them on a regular basis, according to a 2016 study.

Alcohol-induced migraine attacks can come on quickly after alcohol consumption, within minutes to hours. Even small amounts of alcohol can trigger an attack. People with migraine are also more likely to experience a headache the morning after drinking. In this blog, we answer some common questions about alcohol and migraine.

Why do I get a migraine attack when I drink alcohol? 

Unfortunately, we still don’t know exactly what it is about alcoholic drinks that triggers migraine, and the root cause might be different for different people. For example, it may be the actual alcohol itself that triggers attacks – the chemicals it’s broken down into by the body may directly trigger migraine, or its diuretic effect (an increase in your need to urinate) may lead to a migraine attack by causing dehydration.

Alcoholic drinks also contain certain compounds besides the alcohol itself that may trigger migraine attacks – these are the byproducts of alcohol fermentation. Known as congeners, they are thought by some researchers to trigger headaches – as a general rule, darker drinks tend to have more congeners. This could potentially explain why some people with migraine find they can’t drink certain darker drinks like beer or red wine, however, more research is needed to find out.

Alcohol also causes our blood vessels to expand and increases blood flow, which could contribute to migraine attacks. However, while changes to the blood vessels are involved in migraine, research suggests that they are not the cause of an attack. We now know that migraine is a brain disease, not a disease of the blood vessels as it was once thought to be.

How can I reduce the risk of a migraine attack from drinking?

If alcohol is a trigger for you, it may be best to not drink at all. However, if you find that small amounts of alcohol don’t seem to trigger your attacks, be sure to stick to small amounts when you drink. It could also help to drink water as you’re drinking – dehydration is a very common migraine trigger and alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes your body to remove fluids quicker than usual through your urine.

Sometimes you might get an attack because multiple triggers are working in combination. For example, you might have overslept and skipped breakfast, and be tired and stressed from a busy week at work. Adding alcohol into the mix could then tip you over the threshold for having an attack. If you want to drink, it may be best to do so on days where you feel relaxed, you’ve followed your usual daily routine, and you’ve avoided your other triggers, as this could reduce your risk of a migraine attack.

How can I treat a migraine attack from drinking? 

If you feel an attack coming on when you’ve had alcohol, stop drinking straight away. Drink plenty of water and take your usual rescue medication such as triptans or pain relief. These are generally safe to take if you’ve been drinking but don’t drink any more and be aware that the alcohol could make the medication’s side effects worse – for example, you may feel a bit drowsy or dizzy, so lie down and rest if you can. It’s important to always check the leaflet that comes with your medication just in case it says that you should not mix it with alcohol, or ask your doctor about it when they prescribe it.

Can I still drink alcohol if I live with migraine?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone is unique and experiences migraine differently. Many people find that only certain drinks trigger their attacks, so they only need to avoid specific beverages. However, what applies to one person with migraine might be quite different for another.

Keeping a headache diary will help you determine whether alcohol is definitely triggering your attacks. What is and isn’t a trigger can be tricky to untangle; it might be that you tend to drink when you’re very stressed, and it’s actually the stress that’s the trigger, or perhaps you only drink at the weekend and your weekend sleep habits are to blame. Keeping note of things like stress, what you’ve eaten, your caffeine consumption, your menstrual cycle, and your sleep pattern over a few months will help you identify your migraine triggers. You should also record how much alcohol you drink, what types of drink you’ve consumed, and how much. You can take your diary to your doctor and they’ll help you work out what might be triggering your attacks.

Can I drink during a migraine attack?

Although it’s unlikely that you’d feel like it, it’s best not to drink any alcohol while you’re experiencing a migraine attack. Attacks can last for several hours or days after the headache stage eases. This is known as the postdrome stage and can make you feel very fatigued and ‘hungover’. Drinking while you feel like this may make you feel worse and prolong your attack, so it’s best not to drink until you feel completely back to normal.

If you have questions about your migraine or need further information or support, you can contact our free helpline on 0808 802 0066 or email us at info@migrainetrust.org.

Here at theOsteopath we continue to assess and treat Migraine triggers that manifest in our body posture and daily activity analysis. For an assessment and treatment of migraine and headaches please contact us at the Clinic.

Yoga for Migraine: Does It Help?

Yoga for Migraine

The ancient practice of yoga has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past 50 years. A recent study suggests that yoga may significantly reduce the burden of migraine, and lead to a reduction in medication use in some people. What type of yoga is best for people with migraine? When is it safe to practice? To help us learn more is yoga instructor Adriane Dellorco.

Adriane Dellorco has been practicing yoga all her life and living with migraine for 14 years. She is the founder of Yoga for Migraine, an online community that offers yoga practices specifically for people living with headache and migraine. Adriane is a lifelong dancer and yoga practitioner with a 200-hour yoga teacher certification in restorative, yin, and yoga nidra styles.

Adriane Dellorco: Four out of five people living with migraine report stress as a major trigger. Yoga offers a powerful combination of breathwork, muscle tension release and meditation that helps to activate the parasympathetic response in the body. It can help relieve the neck tension that so many people with migraine have. It also serves as a “gateway exercise.” While we know that exercise is a great preventive for migraine, it’s out of reach for so many people who can’t keep up a consistent, moderate exercise routine. Yoga can bridge that gap, because it’s something you can practice even on a high pain day. Yoga also teaches us to observe our body and emotions, making us less reactive to our triggers. And it offers this oasis for just feeling good that helps rewire the pain pathways in the brain that get into a chronic pain rut over time.

What evidence is there to support yoga for migraine?

Adriane Dellorco:

There’ve been several studies, most recently in May of 2020, published in Neurology. In that study, they compared groups of people with episodic migraine. One group did yoga three to five times a week, and the other group didn’t. They found that the group practicing yoga over a three-month period reduced the intensity and frequency of migraine attacks by 48% and lowered medication use by 47%. This is comparable to many preventive medications. The yoga practitioners in the study also cut their migraine disability index score by 37%, meaning they felt much more able to enjoy their lives.

What’s the best way to get started with yoga if you have migraine?

Adriane Dellorco:

Yoga can be very healing, but it’s important to find the right style and the right poses for your body. For people with migraine, start with a very gentle yoga style like yoga nidra, which is a guided, lying-down meditation. Next, try a restorative yoga class. It’s not physically intense. It’s much more meditative and still. And then if you’re having a lower pain day, explore a gentle hatha yoga practice, which involves more of the classic yoga poses and helps build more physical stamina and release of muscle tension. There are yoga options for everyone. Find a teacher that can work with your health challenges and your mobility level. The ultimate goal is for you to be comfortable and aware of your mind and body.

Watch the full interview for answers to:

What is yoga?How can yoga help someone with migraine?What evidence is there that supports yoga for migraine?How do postures and breathing combine to create an effective yoga practice?How can yoga benefit the hyper-responsive nervous system common in people with migraine?Can yoga be practiced during times of high pain?Is there a type of yoga that’s best-suited for people with migraine?Are there certain types of yoga that are better suited for different body types?What type of yoga is most beneficial if the neck is a factor in migraine?What type of yoga is appropriate for people who have migraine with vestibular symptoms, such as dizziness and vertigo?Can yoga help with insomnia?What other conditions can yoga be beneficial for?Is there anyone who shouldn’t practice yoga?What are some reasons that people might be hesitant to try yoga?What is the best way to start a yoga practice for those who are new to it?How can you find a certified yoga instructor who can provide personal feedback?

Watch Adriane Dellorco’s interview preview here, or order it as part of the Migraine World Summit package from this page.

Patest strategies for chronic migraine

For those of us who’ve experienced chronic migraine, classified as experiencing more than 15 headache days a month, with eight of those days being migraine, it can feel as though there’s no way out: no relief in sight, and no hope of finding treatments that work. 

But there is hope. Carrie Dougherty, MD, FAHS shares her knowledge about how people can recover from chronic migraine and ways to minimize the risk of progressing from acute to chronic migraine. Dr. Dougherty is an associate professor of neurology and program director of the headache medicine fellowship at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. She is a fellow of the American Headache Society and serves as a member of the guidelines committee and the Scottsdale Headache Symposium planning committee. 

Is medication overuse a cause of, or an aggravating, factor, for chronic migraine?

Dr. Dougherty: Medication overuse headache is a specific diagnosis for people who have frequent migraine attacks and are regularly using acute medications each month, such as triptans. Overusing acute medications can increase the likelihood  that the frequency of your migraine will change adversely over time. However, it’s hard to truly know if a person would or wouldn’t have progressed to chronic migraine if they hadn’t treated all of their migraine attacks with medications, but it may be a contributing factor. We’ve seen evidence that when people stop using medications that may contribute to chronic migraine, their migraine frequency reduces.

What are some of the risk factors for episodic migraine to progress to chronic migraine?

Dr. Dougherty: From epidemiological studies, we’ve found there are a few common risk factors that increase the progression from episodic to chronic migraine. One of those is comorbidities. If a person with migraine also has depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder; if they have other pain issues; if they’re overweight or snore, these can increase their risk. External factors such as stressful life events, history of head injury, or high amounts of caffeine can also increase migraine frequency. Difficult-to-treat migraine attacks are another risk factor.

What are some non-medicinal treatments that might help people avoid or treat chronic migraine?

Dr. Dougherty: Having a big migraine toolbox is helpful. Treatments people can try include lifestyle changes such as good sleep hygiene, mindfulness, meditation, stress management, and exercise. Talking with your family and employer about what you need and what your priorities are, and how they can support you, is helpful. We also use cognitive behavioral therapy and work with pain interventionists to help address all aspects of how migraine affects a person’s life.

Watch the full interview for answers to:

  • How many people in the world have what’s considered chronic migraine?
  • When and how does chronification of migraine start?
  • What’s the difference between chronic migraine and medication overuse headache?
  • Is medication overuse a cause of or an exacerbating factor for chronic migraine?
  • What are some of the risk factors for episodic migraine to progress to chronic migraine?
  • What are some of the indications that someone might have transitioned to chronic migraine?
  • Why do patients tend to underreport their frequency of migraine?
  • What are some of the barriers to appropriate diagnosis of chronic migraine?
  • What advice do you give patients who say that triptans are the only thing that works for them, but they are afraid of rebound headaches?
  • What are some nonmedicinal treatments, tools, or therapies that might help people avoid or treat chronic migraine?
  • What do you tell a patient who says they have tried everything but nothing works?
  • What resources are there for people with chronic migraine who are frustrated and overwhelmed with navigating the health care system along with the condition itself?
  • How can people with migraine be proactive in treating their condition?

Watch Dr. Carrie Dougherty’s interview preview here, or order it as part of the Migraine World Summit package from this page.

Light Sensitivity and Therapy for Migraine

Over 2,000 years ago, a Greek physician wrote that his patients experiencing intense headaches also fled the light. Experienced by 90% of people with migraine, photophobia is a distinguishing characteristic of this disease. What causes this light sensitivity? How does it define the migraine experience? What new therapies are available to address this often-ignored symptom?

Deborah I. Friedman, M.D., M.P.H., FAAN, is a professor in the departments of neurology and ophthalmology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. A neuro-ophthalmologist, she is chief of the division of headache medicine, and the founding director of UT Southwestern’s Headache and Facial Pain Program. She is board certified in neurology, with subspecialty certification in headache medicine. 

What causes light sensitivity in people with migraine?

Dr. Friedman: The retina of the eye has different cells that control our vision, called the rods and cones. The cones are responsible for color and our central vision, and the rods are responsible for seeing light and dark. These and some other small cells transmit back into the brain, to the thalamus, which is like a huge relay station. The thalamus then projects to other places in the brain, including the cortex, where we have awareness of pain and light sensitivity. All the fibers that receive information from those retinal cells are in very close proximity to the fibers that come up from the brainstem and those are part of the trigeminal vascular system that controls pain.

Should someone with photophobia try to avoid light?

Dr. Friedman: This is a very common question. However, it’s not a good thing when people start gradually decreasing the amount of light they’re exposed to because cells in the retina begin to “dark adapt.” Some people install blackout blinds, wear sunglasses indoors, or eat in the dark. While it’s true they’re very light sensitive, the fear of pain increases anxiety, which can also trigger migraine. We try to find the least amount of protection from the light where people can still function normally. Many try using FL-41 tinted glasses or lenses, which block the blue wavelength of light, while some actually do better blocking red wavelengths. While others use super dark glasses, they don’t block the wavelengths that are actually the problem. 
Are computer and phone screens a problem as well? 
Dr. Friedman: Screen time in general has created a lot of challenges for people with photophobia and migraine. While photophobia comes from migraine and from the brain, it can also be caused by other eye conditions. One of the most common causes of photophobia is dry eyes, and a lot of people with migraine have dry eyes, sometimes medication-related. When you’re reading or working on a screen, it’s normal not to blink as much. That means you’re not lubricating the cornea sufficiently, so it can dry out. And if the cornea dries out, it can cause blurred vision or pain. You might start straining, and then your neck gets sore. Between all that and the exposure to the luminance on the screen, it can make photophobia a lot worse. 

Watch the full interview for answers to:

  • Is migraine the only headache disorder that has light sensitivity as a symptom?
  • Is light sensitivity a premonitory symptom or is it a trigger of migraine?
  • Is light sensitivity a chronic condition?
  • Is light sensitivity something that can develop from another condition, such as concussion?
  • What causes light sensitivity?
  • Should people with light sensitivity completely avoid the light, or is it better to learn to adapt to it?
  • What protections are there for people with light sensitivity?
  • Should people with light sensitivity keep their home environments dark at all times?
  • How can you tell the difference between photophobia as a trigger and as a premonitory symptom?
  • Are tinted lenses helpful?
  • When should someone with photophobia see a specialist?
  • What kind of specialist should they see?
  • Are the CGRP medications helpful to those with light sensitivity?
  • Is our modern world of excessive screen time and “Zoom fatigue” causing more photophobia?
  • How can someone tell that their photophobia might be chronic?

Watch Dr. Friedman’s interview preview here, or order it as part of the Migraine World Summit package from this page.

Headache And Migraine In Later Life

We often hear that migraine improves with age, but unfortunately that’s not the case for everyone. For some people, migraine continues into older age and is complicated with concerns about medication safety and other comorbidities. For others, new migraine symptoms and headache disorders develop with age. 

Matthew Robbins, MD, addresses some of the challenges of headache and migraine in later life. Dr Robbins is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Residency Program Director at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is the secretary on the executive board for the American Headache Society, directs all resident education programming and is a resident and fellow section editor of the journal, Headache. 

How does migraine typically change in middle and older age?

Dr. Robbins: Migraine symptoms can change over time. For example, for some older people, a non-headache symptom like aura can occur on its own without a migraine attack, or an aura may be a brand new symptom. When a person was younger, they may have experienced overwhelming symptoms such as nausea and light or sound sensitivity, which may lessen as they age. Older people may have a more general aversion to eat, or just feel queasy, rather than more severe nausea and vomiting. Migraine triggers can also change with age, and once you remove hormonal fluctuations after menopause, it may be possible to pay more attention to other potential triggers.
Are triptans still safe for the older population with migraine?
Dr. Robbins: Triptans as a family of medicine can cause symptoms such as tightness, tingling, and a sense of warmth or discomfort, not just in the chest, but anywhere in the upper body – arms, shoulders, neck, throat, scalp, and face. If someone older develops any of these symptoms for the first time, that should be a cause for an urgent evaluation. People with migraine have more cardiovascular risk factors than people without migraine, so if an older person is having side effects with a certain triptan, there are other medicines within the triptan family that don’t seem to cause those side effects.  The newer medications, such as gepants and other CGRP blockers, activate a different type of serotonin receptor than do triptans and don’t seem to cause that pattern of side effects.
In someone with a history of migraine, what are some factors that might lead to increased frequency of attacks in middle age?
Dr. Robbins: Hormonal changes during perimenopause, the transition time to menopause, can make women more vulnerable to increased migraine frequency, and sometimes that migraine frequency increase remains as they get older. Migraine has a lot of different risk factors for changing from episodic to chronic migraine. As people age, they may experience sleep disturbances or coexisting pain problems that keep the brain overly activated and grease the wheels for migraine attacks to become more frequent. Older people may have musculoskeletal problems such as lower back pain or neck pain that affect migraine frequency.

Watch the full interview for answers to:

What are the most common headache disorders in people over the age of 50?How does migraine typically change in middle and older age?
Is it true that migraine improves with age?
Are triptans still safe for the older population with migraine?
How common is it for an older person to get a new diagnosis of migraine?
In someone with a history of migraine, what are some factors that might lead to increased frequency of attacks in middle age?
What are some alternatives if triptans either stop working for someone, or become unsafe to use?
How safe are some of the typical migraine medications for people older than 50?
Why do some people with migraine become more or less responsive to their usual medications as they age?
What are the risks of a long-term migraine history and the long-term medication use that may accompany it?
Are the newer medications safe for older people with migraine?
What nonmedicinal options exist for migraine after 50 years of age?

Watch Dr. Robbins interview preview hereor order it as part of the Migraine World Summit package from this page.

If you’ve previously purchased the 2021 Migraine World Summit, you are all set to log in to watch the full interview.

Meningitis Awareness Week 2021

13th – 19th September 2021

Be part of this historic moment.

On 28th September, the Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis will be launched by the World Health Organization (WHO). For the first time ever, countries will unite behind a global effort to defeat meningitis and provide meaningful aftercare to survivors and their families.

The launch provides an opportunity for your voice to be heard by global leaders at this once in a lifetime Roadmap launch. We need to show them how much people want to see meningitis defeated – the more voices we get, the stronger the call to action.

This Meningitis Awareness Week, you can help #DefeatMeningitis.Join the many voices sharing their support now for defeating meningitis

The real voices of meningitis.

We meningitis strikes, feelings of isolation and disconnection are common. Whether the disease has struck you or someone you are close to, it can feel like you are completely alone. But, as long as we are here, you are never alone.

This Meningitis Awareness Week, we are proud to launch Meningitis & Me. This is a unique platform for videos made by, and for, people affected by meningitis. Whether you have a lost loved one, experienced amputation or are dealing with invisible after-effects, you will find practical tips and advice for adjusting to life after meningitis. Our first set of videos is now available to view, and we’ll be uploading new content throughout 2021.

This Meningitis Awareness Week, we are proud to amplify the voices of people affected by meningitis, to show other impacted individuals that you are not alone.Visit the Meningitis & Me platformHave you been impacted by meningitis? If so, and if you have tips and advice that you’d like to share with others, we’d like to hear from you. Click here to contact the team.

We welcome your feedback for our existing set of videos. Please click here to let us know your thoughts.

Share thisFurther advocacy and campaigning projectsWe call for positive change as a united voice against meningitis and septicaemia, and a dedicated champion for those it affects. Advocacy & campaigning projects MRF Research projectsSince the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).Current projects MRF Action and support projectsWe take action that benefits people directly, including training health professionals and providing support and information services.See our projects The psychological impact of limb lossMike Davies contracted bacterial meningitis in 2017. This is his story.Read the blog 

Connect families affected by meningitis so they don’t feel alone

Connect families affected by meningitis so they don’t feel alone£58 funds one support worker to attend our ‘Meningitis Meet-Ups’ – a chance for families affected by meningitis to meet each other for informal peer support.Donate now

Media contactHolly Edwards – Communications ManagerTel: 07875 498 047hollye@meningitis.orgSign up for regular information from MRFSubscribe

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Registered Office: Suite 204, Park House, 10 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5HX UK

Finding Work That Works Despite Migraine

Migraine is a disease that’s still widely misunderstood and dismissed, especially in the workplace. Migraine can inhibit your ability to work, even when there are bills to pay and you have no health insurance. During the pandemic especially, some with migraine—especially women—have faced economic hardship.

Melanie Whetzel is the lead consultant of the Cognitive/Neurological Team with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Her post-graduate work has been primarily focused on special education. As the lead consultant, Melanie specializes in learning disabilities, mental impairments, developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and brain injuries. She presents nationally on these topics, and has authored several publications.

What are the challenges of managing a career with frequent and disabling migraine?

Melanie Whetzel: Migraine patterns are very individual. One of the biggest issues is that migraine attacks often occur with little or no warning, impacting both the employer and employee. If they cause frequent absences or an inability to perform optimally, that can cause a problem. Most employers expect that an employee to have consistent, reliable attendance. Migraine disease is also misunderstood. It’s an invisible disability, unlike the loss of an arm, for instance, and many employers and co-workers have no experience of migraine.

What type of work might be best for those with frequent or chronic migraine?

Melanie Whetzel: There are many different accommodation ideas that can help in an office setting. If the issue is lighting, a big office space or a big retail location can be difficult unless you can control the lighting yourself. If you can work from home, you’ve got much more control over the environment. If fragrances are a problem, you don’t want to work in a florist shop or near a bathing products area. With noise, many people use noise-canceling headsets or earbuds, and some install doors or sound absorption panels. We work with employers so they can provide any accommodations until they cause a hardship: something that would be too expensive, too disruptive, or would change the nature of the business. Because migraine can be a disabling condition, you need to decide if you can stay at your current job with reasonable accommodations, or, if you can’t get accommodations or they aren’t feasible, if you need to find new work.
Should you tell your employer or a prospective employer about your migraine disease? 

Melanie Whetzel: Timing is critical. You don’t have to disclose any type of disability or medical condition until you need an accommodation. Understandably, a lot of people don’t want to talk about their disability when they’re being interviewed. Once employers make a conditional offer of employment, however, they can ask medical questions. That’s a good time to disclose so that it doesn’t become too much of an issue. Once hired, you want to be as honest with your employer as possible; you need to be able to state why something’s a problem so they can understand. Employers should then be more willing to look at accommodations that work. However, if there are issues that occur after disclosure, then organizations like JAN have specific steps we recommend to protect yourself.

Watch the full interview for answers to

  • What are some of the challenges of managing a career with frequent and disabling migraine?
  • What type of work might be best suited for someone living with frequent or chronic migraine?
  • When is it appropriate to ask for job accommodations at work?
  • If fragrance is a trigger for someone with migraine, what’s the best way to go about handling a situation in which a coworker wears a lot of perfume?
  • What guidance would you give to someone with migraine who is considering starting their own business?
  • Should you tell your employer or a prospective employer that you have migraine disease?
  • What if you disclose that you have migraine and then face repercussions from your employer?
  • If an issue arises at work that an employee suspects is discrimination because of their disablity, what resources are available to help?
  • Are there accommodations you can ask for when working from home?
  • How should the question “Do you have a disability?” be answered on job applications?
  • What are some things that can be done to raise awareness of migraine in the workplace?

Watch Melanie Whetzel’s interview preview here, or order it as part of the Migraine World Summit package from this page.

Better Migraine Care

Better migraine care

It’s Migraine Awareness Week (5-11 September), and we have published a new report for it that exposes a broken healthcare system which migraine patients struggle to navigate. While the scale of the problem in migraine healthcare that it reveals is alarming, we hope it is the first step in changing and improving migraine care.

The report, Dismissed for too long, reveals a wide range of issues with migraine healthcare including:

  • Slow diagnosis: People with migraine are often only diagnosed several years after starting to have migraine attacks. Our research found that, of those who have been officially diagnosed, almost a quarter had been experiencing migraine attacks for over two years before they were diagnosed. It also found that over half (52%) of people who say they have migraine haven’t been officially diagnosed with it by a doctor.
  • Lack of access to specialist care: Most migraine patients never see a headache specialist, including those with chronic migraine who are referred to neurologists who may not have an expertise in migraine. We submitted Freedom of Information requests to all Hospital Trusts in England and Health Boards in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to find out what access migraine patients have to specialist care. Only three Health Boards in Northern Ireland (out of five), three Local Health Boards in Wales (out of seven), seven Health Boards in Scotland (out of 14), and 13 Trusts in England (out of 128 contacted), replied and said they had a specialist headache clinic.
  • Lack of access to new drugs: The problems in migraine healthcare have intensified over the last year as many people who are eligible for the new (and first ever drugs developed to prevent migraine) calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibody migraine medication have struggled to access it, despite it being approved for use on the NHS. Through Freedom of Information requests we found there was a postcode lottery with accessing these drugs where only one Health Board in Northern Ireland (out of five), two Local Health Boards in Wales (out of seven), seven Health Boards in Scotland (out of 14), and 15 Trusts in England (out of 128 contacted), replied and stated that eligible patients could access CGRP treatment.

Our recommendations on how problems can be addressed

We have set out a range of proposals in the report on how to address these issues that will aim to speed up diagnosis and ensure that those who need specialist care and new treatment can access it.

However, proposing solutions is one step, having those solutions implemented is a much bigger step. Some will be easy to put in place and we would hope that our recommendations will be implemented in the next year. Whereas other solutions will take several years to achieve.

We will need your support for both.

How you can help

We are raising the issue in the media and will be lobbying the government and working with healthcare bodies to have our recommendations implemented.

You can support the campaign by:

  1. Contacting your local representative: Writing to your MP, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland residents can also contact their MSP (Scotland), AM (Wales) or MLA (Northern Ireland) in your regional parliament. You can download a template letter to send to them here.
  2. Writing to your local media: We are running a media campaign that will focus on national and local media which you can support by writing a letter to your local newspaper. You can download a template letter to send to them here.
  3. Sharing your experience on social media: Share the report and your experiences of migraine healthcare on social media using the hashtags #BetterMigraineCare and #MigraineAwarenessWeek2021. We have graphics for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which you can use for your posts, that you can download here.

Thank you for your support. By working together to highlight the problems in migraine healthcare and campaigning for change, we can ensure that migraine, and people with it, are no longer dismissed in the healthcare system. Our work together will lead to better migraine care.