Survey: migraine and quality of life

Posted 17 January 2023

Our latest survey shows migraine is so much more than just a health issue.  For the individual, it can affect employment, undermine relationships and seriously damage quality of life; for society at large, it’s a huge burden that drives social exclusion and inequality.

The results show how untreated migraine can devastate lives – but they give hope too, proving that expert treatment can have a remarkable affect.


A new survey from the National Migraine Centre shows untreated migraine can have a devastating impact on quality of life

The results of our latest patient survey (952 people who are affected by migraine or other primary headaches) illustrates the terrible impact that headache can have when it’s not properly controlled.

74 per cent of respondents were affected by migraine on at least seven days each month, while 40 per cent have more days with migraine than without.

For many, alongside pain comes visual disturbances, sickness and light sensitivity.

Our survey showed that, prior to treatment, those with chronic migraine suffered significant impacts on their employment, their social lives and their mental health. Among these people, the study found that as a result of migraine:

• 44% felt socially isolated often

• 68% stayed home often

• 42% suffered financially

• 24% intentionally took lower paid or less responsible work

• 26% were, or had been, unemployed because of migraine

• 12% reported they had lost a job

• 63% experienced mental health problems caused by or exacerbated by migraine

• 24% found migraine led to suicidal feelings

• 88% found migraine interfered with their job or education

• 94% found migraine interfered with their social life

On a pain scale of one to ten, most respondents rated pain as eight or above.

But the survey also revealed causes for optimism.  We know that a consultation with a headache specialist at the National Migraine Centre can be transformational, leading to a treatment plan that many patients indicate results in significant improvements in both headache frequency and severity. Those with chronic migraine who responded to our survey said that after seeing a clinician through the National Migraine Centre:

• 45% feel less isolated, and 19% no longer feel isolated at all

• 47% stay at home less because of migraine, and 19% no longer feel the need to stay at home at all

• 34% say feelings of stress or depression caused by migraine have lessened, while 11% no longer experience migraine-related stress or depression at all

• 20% feel more secure in their jobs

• 19% are able to do jobs they couldn’t previously consider

• 44% say migraine interferes less with their job or education, and 12% no longer feel it interferes at all

• 61% feel migraine interferes with their social lives less, and 10% no longer feel it interferes with their social life at all


‘The National Migraine Centre changed my whole life. I went from job to job – and I wasn’t getting help, just a cocktail of drugs. All that changed when I found the NMC. Now I’m running my own business and happier than ever.’


Find out more about managing your migraine triggers – or book a consultation with a headache specialist.

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