5 Migraine Myths

Dispel the Myths, Reveal the Facts

By Colleen Doherty, MD


Due to the common occurrence of migraine, there is a plethora of information out there to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment, and how to cope. This information, however, can be quite misleading and downright false. Let’s review five common migraine myths and what the truth really is.

Myth #1 “Only women get migraines.

Fact: Men get migraines too, although they are more common in women. Approximately 18% of women in American suffer from migraines compared to 6% of men.


Myth #2 “If I have migraines than so will my children.

Fact: While there is a strong genetic basis to the development of migraines, it does not necessarily mean your children will have migraines if you do. Likewise, just because you have a family history of migraines, does not mean you will develop migraines.


Myth #3 “If you do not see flashing lights than you are not having a migraine.

Fact: You do not need to have an aura to have a migraine. In fact, only about one-third of migraineurs have an aura. Remember, auras typically consist of visual, sensory, and/or language disturbances that are reversible. An aura, according to the second edition of theInternational Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-II), only lasts up to one hour. In addition, at least one of the aura symptoms must develop gradually over a period of 5 minutes or more. (i.e. not a sudden onset).


Myth #4 “Migraines during a women’s menstrual cycle are in her head.”

Fact: Headaches during your menstrual cycle could very well be migraines.This is likely due to the influence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone on migraine occurrence, frequency, and severity.  Evidence supporting this hormonal influence is supported by the change in migraine occurrence/frequency/severity based on a women’s menstrual cycle, their menopausal state, and whether they are pregnant.


Myth #5 “If you suffer from migraine, you are out of luck. There is really no good treatment.”

Fact: This is absolutely not true. There are lots of therapies out there for migraineurs. It is often a combination of treatments that helps.


A Note From Dr. Strauss:  Most medical and alternative treatments are designed to help you manage your migraine pain but they don’t get rid of your headaches in a permanent way.  My specialized chiropractic treatment is designed to stop headaches from happening and to reduce your need to use medications.  If you have never thought of chiropractic for your migraines, get an initial exam to find out if this technique will work for you!