For anyone who suffers from migraines, the pain can be unbearable. On the one hand, there is the physical pain of these recurring headaches. On the other hand, there’s the frustration of people downplaying just how much people with migraines can suffer.
According to the National Headache Foundation, migraines are the third most common illness in the world, but they are still not fully understood. If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from migraines, here are five ways to help ease their pain.
Do not fault or downplay migraine symptoms
Telling a friend their migraine is just a bad headache will likely upset them and invalidates the pain they are experiencing. If anything, it only heightens their pain. Instead, try being a little more sympathetic.
Be supportive, but not intrusive
Try to be helpful without prying. Remind your loved one that they will be back on their feet in a few hours and ask what you can do to help ease their pain.
Try to follow the plan
Instead of offering amateur medical advice, listen to what a migraine sufferer and their doctor have decided is the best course of action and help carry out that plan. For example, if your loved one’s doctor has prescribed them a medication, offer to go pick it up instead of suggesting an alternative solution.
Help learn triggers
Migraines are often triggered by environmental stimuli, like bright lights, loud noises or certain foods. You can help a migraine sufferer by tracking the potential causes of their headaches and helping them avoid or mitigate those triggers in the future. If you’re headed to a concert, for instance, you can remind them to bring along earplugs—or bring an extra pair.
Be an advocate
Donating to causes that help fund migraine research, setting up a Facebook group for sufferers and their friends and family, or even pushing for relevant legislation are ways you can be a good advocate.