Migraine is not just a headache


If it does, you’ve probably
also felt like this: These are all symptoms of the debilitating,
traumatic disease of migraine, which, just to be clear: – is not just a headache. It’s a genetic, neurologic disease. It’s shockingly common, estimated to affect a billion
people around the world. – We need to treat migraine like a
large, global public health problem. But migraine research is critically underfunded. And there’s still a lot we don’t
know about why they happen and how best to treat them. – I feel like a cyborg. We spoke to doctors, researchers
and patients to learn more about the confounding disease of migraine and what it will take to truly find relief. I’m Molly Rubin. This is Quartz. Please subscribe to our channel. There are a lot of treatments for migraine. – And that’s another pulse. Neuromodulation devices stimulate
nerves to normalize brain function. – And we just turn it on. – It’s starting to get really sharp,
really tight, and really intense. – We’ll take it right off. Some people get dozens of shots of botox to the head every few months. Or inject anesthetics to
the nerves in their head. – It’s super uncomfortable,
I don’t know why I laugh. But these treatments don’t work for everyone. – I’ve been on the shots,
I’ve done the nasal spray. – I’ve tried probably a hundred
medicines at this point. And it’s hard to even find a doctor. There are less than 600 certified
headache specialists in the US. – Very often what we offer is hope. Dr. Alexander Mauskop specializes
in treating migraine. Yes, migraine, not migraines. It’s a disease people live with 24
hours a day, like asthma, not just during attacks. And it’s particularly hard to treat because
everyone experiences migraine differently, with a range of symptoms that are
maybe best described as paralyzing. – The World Health Organization
rates the disability of migraine during an attack
at the same level as the disability of a quadriplegic. – Of a quadriplegic person?
– Yes. The US economy alone loses $78 billion annually in lost labor and direct medical costs, thanks to migraine. A reliable, affordable, effective treatment without
crazy side effects would be a game changer. And last year, there was a breakthrough: a new class of drugs called CGRPs. They block a protein in the brain
released during an attack, and they’re the first-ever preventative drug
developed specifically for migraine. – These are totally different drugs
from the ones we’ve had in the past. CGRPs are life changing… for some, but not for everyone. – I’m on my fourth month of Ajovy and it’s been a miracle drug for me. – For me, it’s had a very limited result. They work really well for about 20% of patients, but migraine impacts 1 in 7
people around the world. Those suffering need more. That’s the focus of researchers here,
at an Arizona campus of Mayo Clinic, this gleaming hospital in the middle of the desert at the forefront of migraine research. – So what do we know about what causes a migraine, and what don’t we know? – So we know that there are many different genes, over 30 genes, that are associated with migraine. We know that that there’s these correlations, but we don’t exactly know the
connections in between them. Dr. Starling is a neurologist
and headache specialist. She runs clinical trials and collaborates
closely with the Mayo lab. – Why is it that there’s still
so much we don’t know about migraine pathology and treatment? – So it all comes down to stigma. If a disease is not respected in the medical field, then it’s also not going to receive the
amount of research funding that it should. The National Institute of Health
is the biggest source of public funding for biomedical
research in the world. If you look at the funding migraine
receives compared to its burden, it’s way below the average. – Very little research is being funded
for a disease that is highly disabling. Migraine has a devastating impact. But it’s hard to get people to care
about a disease they can’t see, especially when almost three-quarters
of sufferers are women. – A common theme, unfortunately,
in a lot of disease processes that affect women disproportionately
is that we don’t have a lot of research. – When she told you about all this, did she have any idea what caused the headaches? – No, she believes she was born with them. Until the late 20th century, migraine was thought to
be a psychosomatic disease of hysterical women. – There’s an angry, frustrated woman. – It’s just, “Oh, women are weak. They’re complaining. They’re just laying in bed. They should just get to work and drink
a little bit of water and get a massage.” Migraine affects people across all
ages, races, socioeconomic classes. Science has shown that it’s a neurological disorder, but that hasn’t been enough to change
the way we think about it. – Because stigma is social. The only thing that can remove social
stigma is changing culture. Joanna Kempner wrote a book on the
stigma that surrounds migraine. – What is the best way that you
see to remove the stigma and to get people to really believe
that this should be funded? – The best way for disease
groups to get more funding is for people with those diseases to mobilize. Miles For Migraine is a non-profit
group working to show the world migraine is a real disease that
needs to be taken seriously. Through advocacy, they hope to
make the disease more visible, to bring more attention (and funding) to research. – We want them to use their voice and
their actions to advocate for this disease, because it is misunderstood,
misdiagnosed, under-diagnosed. These patients are spending hours, on a Saturday, to talk about the most extreme pain
they’ve ever felt in their lives. They’re listening to lectures,
trying art therapy and tai chi. That it took until 2018 to make a drug that
could potentially help a billion people, shows how much work still needs to be
done to fight the stigma of migraine. – This is a feminist health issue. This is about women being heard
at the health clinic. This is about women being heard by
their employers, by their partners, and women also hearing themselves. So, if you take anything away
from this video, take this: – Migraine is more than just a headache. – Migraine is not just a headache. – Migraine is not just a headache. Hey! We’re making a series for Quartz
members we think you’ll like. It’s called Because China. Because China is reshaping our world in
a lot of unexpected and interesting ways. Click the link in the comments or description
to sign up for a free membership trial to watch the series and more great videos.

39 thoughts on “Migraine is not just a headache

  1. Fun fact, I found out about twenty one pilots when I had a headache and thought I might be having a migraine, so I googled it and a music video showed up, ofc I opened the music video instead of an article about migraine.
    Glad I did, 4 years later I'm still fan.

  2. this video gave me intense hope that there may be a huge burst in migraine research. Since 13yrs old migraine-attacks left me disabled for a few days. I cant process my ideas right, have trouble reading, and my senses turns odd. Everyday there has been this constant fear in the back of my mind that i might get an attack, and it has really been a burden.

  3. Why is there a disproportionate amount of people wearing sunglasses, does it make people blind or is it just a very sunny place?

  4. I feel like diseases that have similarities to everyday aches and pains are the ones most overlooked or misunderstood. Like migraines. "Well I have headaches and can go about my day." Depression. "I feel sad too. What's your problem?" Chronic fatigue. "Everyone gets tired sometimes. Get over it." Etc.

  5. Mine aren't as bad, but still debilitating. First get a weird sensation, hard to explain, then the visions. After a while my limbs start to go numb and sometimes I can't speak. Nausea follows and I sometimes throw up. Only then the headache starts (and actually lasts for days, like you've been hit in the head). Didn't get them for 5 years but now it's back, no medicine ever worked. My dad got them way worse, though, so I'm doing fine!

  6. Watching this video made me remember my worst attack a few years ago. It’s kind of like having a sharpened pencil stabbed micrometer by micrometer on my left temple, with the pulsing pain radiating around my head, for 3 days straight. Looking at bright light or hearing loud noises made it felt like there were 4 pencils instead of 1. Then comes the nausea. Ahh..the good old days.

  7. @5:00 yea, woman's disease's get no funding… coughbreastcancercough not like prostate cancer gets almost 1/10 the funding of other cancers…. coughbreastcancercough man oh man that poor wahmans HIStory and all. Smash the patriarchy amirite.

  8. one of the most bizarre experiences of my almost-50 years of existence was having a migraine that exhibited only the visual aura. there was no pain. nothing other than having a huge kaleidoscope distortion in the left visual field of both eyes for about 1/2 hour — something that was obviously brain-originated. it led to an ambulance ride, ER visit, an MRI, and a CAT scan because I had no idea there was such a thing as an optical migraine. I had never had one before, and have not had one, since. the ER physician had as much clue as I did regarding the matter — meaning, none. I later found from various friends that I'd had my first and only bizarre, non-painful migraine.

  9. It may be a verichip lodged inside your 🧠. That’s what I discovered inside my skull. It causes migraine headaches when EMF is present. The medical community hides this fact like its top secret.

  10. so a migraine is a more painful and chronic headache? its there any way for someone else to see or tell a person is suffering from a migraine? any sort of visual representation?

  11. "Migraine is a women's issue" "A feminist issue" – excuse me? No its not and you shouldn't make it like it is. The illness affects men and women equally. Worst, it increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks in men who suffer from it.

  12. Sorry, equating migraine to being quadriplegic is just stupid. Every quadriplegic would gladly endure a migraine if it meant they had the function of their arms and legs again. And ZERO migraine sufferers would switch places with a quadriplegic to get relief.

    Hyperbole much?

  13. I hate migraines, when I get them I see the weird colors, I smell burning rubber, I taste metal… And my insides decide to eject anything inside from both ends😣😣

  14. that was a decent video right up until the injection of gender politics. just couldn't help yourselves, eh? if you want to engender broad support, i might suggest you not alienate half the population as being misogynist.

  15. This is only my second time really learning about migrane. The first time I really learned about what it's like to live with migrane was when a friend I was travelling with prepared me on what to do if she had an episode. I'm really glad she opened up to me, it was my first time understanding that a migrane is not a headache.
    Thanks Quartz for bringing attention to this!

  16. This gives me hope for the conditions that I suffer from. I have some form of brain damage after taking a prescribed medication and ever since then, I have tinnitus, hearing loss, visual snow and floaters and dp/dr amongst other symptoms. Unfortunately there's no cure and very little treatment (no effective treatment, just therapy, which for physically painful conditions like tinnitus doesn't work for severe cases). Out of all of those, tinnitus is the worst one because it disrupts the way I live. Every day is filled with suffering and hearing loss is a huge problem that's severely underfunded. Hearing aids and cochlear implants can only do so much, and they do not remove tinnitus. Also there is no drug or operation that can help, and many drugs in fact worsen the tinnitus because they damage hair cells and can kill the auditory nerves. Unfortunately it will take many more millions to fall ill, many more years of suffering, but slowly medicine is advancing for all of these invisible conditions. I hate it and I'd trade both my legs just to be able to hear normally again and hear true silence. I'm happy the migraine community got a new drug that can help 20% of the population suffering. I feel like that'll be the case for tinnitus one day. Not one treatment or cure will heal all, but a small %. However that's a good start. Hopefully these horrible conditions and diseases can be cured one day, so that we can return to normal work.

  17. Great video. People rarely believe invisible illnesses until hard evidence. For the longest tine Fibromyalgia sufferers were laughed at as depressed women, but more recently they've discovered about 50% of them suffer from neuropathy of an unknown cause, even this year there was a study, albeit flawed, that found specific biomarkers.

  18. As a man who suffers from this, I'm constantly told how basically weak I am, to tough it out. It is a horrible but invisible disability for you still have all your arms and legs and eyes. You have to fight constantly with legal, emotional, and medical setbacks. Even doctors, who should know better, are dismissive.

  19. Two days ago I got this migraine strike again, and somehow the aftereffect last until now. I thought I have an eye problem. My medicine until now its just go to sleep and hopefully 3 hours later it kinda disappear.

  20. My neutralist told me that 80% of his new patients suffering from migraines are cured after giving up caffeine. I had my doubts, but tried it and it worked. That was almost 20 years ago, and to this day I limit my caffeine to to stave off migraines.

    Also, a friend of mine's migraines were caused by red and orange food coloring.

    I firmly believe migraines are caused by caffeine and an unhealthy heavily processed diet, and can be cured simply without adding more pharmaceutical drugs into the body.

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