S4 E7: Book launch – Managing Your Migraine

A National Migraine Centre Heads Up Podcast transcript

Book launch – Managing Your Migraine

Series 4, episode 7

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[00:00:00] Did you know Dr. Katy Munro, our host, has written a book on managing your migraine. It’s available from all the usual book places and is out now. This special edition will tell you more about it. Welcome to the Heads Up podcast brought to you by the National Migraine Centre, the only UK charity treating migraine and headache.


Swati Raina [00:00:28] Hi, welcome to this special edition episode of our Heads Up podcast. Today we are joined here by our Editor, Content Lead for Heads Up podcast and headache specialist Dr. Katy Munro. And we also have Lydia Yadi, senior commissioning editor for Penguin Random House here. And I think this episode is primarily to be talking about the new book that’s coming out the 26th of August, Managing Your Migraine, by our host, Dr. Munro. And it’s part of the Penguin Life Expert series. So I think we’re going to start off with you, Lydia. If you could tell us a bit about yourself and the Penguin Life Expert series.


Lydia Yadi [00:01:07] Yes. Well, thank you so much for having me on. I’m Lydia Yadi and I’m a senior commissioning editor at Penguin Books. And over the past year and a half, I have created a new health series for Penguin called the Penguin Life Expert Series. And I approached Dr. Munro about writing a book on migraines and really delighted that it’s one of our launch titles.


Swati Raina [00:01:28] What was the idea behind the series?


Lydia Yadi [00:01:31] Yeah. So at Penguin Life, our Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle Imprint, we were talking about how there are so many non-life threatening conditions that still have a really big devastating impact on our lives. And we started looking at kind of persisting conditions and complaints that people really struggle to manage by themselves effectively, and saw that a lot of people were struggling with conditions that, sort of unnecessarily, where they actually could be getting better treatment options. But for whatever reasons, they weren’t able to find them. They weren’t sort of finding out about new solutions, or perhaps they were sort of giving up because they were frustrated about their experience of a condition. So we set about creating some authoritative and really helpful guides that would help patients get better information and better manage their conditions and hopefully, you know, live life with less pain and reduce the effects of the condition that they’ve been living with on their lives. So we found that there are a lot of conditions where there’s kind of a lot of misinformation or myths around a subject like IBS, menopause and of course, migraine, where people had just sort of accepted that they had to learn to live with something, without good support or treatment. And we really wanted to set some of that straight and help people get better care.


Swati Raina [00:02:52] Now, I think we can, I mean, as somebody who suffers from migraine myself, I think that’s something quite relatable, isn’t it, Katy?


Dr. Katy Munro [00:02:58] Absolutely.


Swati Raina [00:02:58] The fact that there’s so much misinformation out there about migraines, so many people you could sort of pass by and would be like, oh, I get these headaches and I feel nauseated and I have these flashing lights, but I don’t get migraine.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:03:13] Yeah.


Swati Raina [00:03:13] They wouldn’t really know they actually suffer from this condition or it would take years before they actually get properly diagnosed within the health systems. This is something we have heard from a lot of our patients as well. So I think something like that, a guide, as you sort of mentioned, Lydia, would be so helpful and so useful, especially if it has a self-care routine. And that probably brings me to you, Katy. Tell us about your book.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:03:40] So I was really delighted to meet Lydia and to hear about the exciting plans for the series. I think the concept is a really good one and I think especially working in the field of headache and migraine, we find that one of the things that people haven’t had is really kind of basic understanding of what the condition is, what they can do to help themselves and really good, trustworthy evidence. So my brief was really to write a book that encompassed everything that you can say about migraine, but making sure that it is based on scientific papers and proven remedies and things like that. I was very keen to also mention about the other things which can sometimes be confused for migraine and clarify some of the myths. And just also we’ve added in a chapter about migraine in children because I think there’s an awful lot of children who get migraine who are never recognised as being sufferers. So for parents reading the book, I’m hopeful it’s going to be really useful to them if they have migraine, but also if their kids have migraine too, because we know it’s a genetic neurological condition that runs in families. So, yes, very, very excited to share it.


Swati Raina [00:04:56] Well, I know that a lot of people and I think this gathering from the kind of responses we’ve had initially when we’ve sort of talked about this book is coming out and the kind of questions that have come through. But some of them are around the fact what are the topics that you’ve covered in the book, what does it then comprise of? Could you just give- not the entire thing, but could you just tell us a bit about what are the topics you’ve covered?


Dr. Katy Munro [00:05:20] Yeah. I won’t read it out as an audiobook just for this podcast. So one of the things we know in the clinic is seeing patients week after week is they are often asking the same questions. And I always start with a basic formula of, you know, what is migraine? How do we classify? Is it a headache? Is it more than a headache? So there’s a couple of chapters on what is a migraine and the different phases of migraine. And then we go on to the other kind of real lifestyle things that people ask us about. So what can I eat? How should I eat? You know, when can I have caffeine? Then exercise. Can I do exercise? But how come exercise sometimes triggers me? What about sleep? So there’s chapters on all of those kind of things. Then of course, coming on to medication for the acute treatment and for prevention. And there’s lots of exciting new developments that we talk about in the book. And then one of the biggest areas for us in the clinic is for women going through the perimenopause and the menopause. And, of course, migraines also kick off around the time of any sort of hormonal change. So there’s a whole chapter on hormones and migraine. And then later on in the book, I talk a little bit more about the variance of migraine, so we’ve hemiplegic migraine and retinal migraine and those kind of things. Vestibular migraine we often see patients with, and we know that migraine has a big impact on people. But it’s not just on them. It’s on their families, it’s on their friends. And of course, it’s invariably it’s on their work as well and on their careers. So there’s a chapter talking about how you can speak to your employer if you’ve got migraine and you know, some tips about what your rights are and what kind of things you could ask your employer to do. And then finally, there’s a kind of ‘any other headache’ kind of chapter, because I really wanted to flag up cluster headache because we see cluster headache and there’s a lot of confusion around cluster headache. So people say, Oh, I have cluster migraine, and it’s something we bang on about in the podcast on numerous occasions. So there’s no such thing as cluster migraine. Cluster headache is a completely separate primary headache, which is excruciating and needs a different treatment for migraine. So just to help people get that clear, whether they’re having migraine or cluster headache, and then there’s a big long list of resources in the back for people to go on and do more research. Because I’m very passionate about people getting good information and then finding out what they can do for themselves.


Swati Raina [00:07:56] Is this book more directed to people who suffer with migraine or is this something that even GP’s and you know, we know a lot of GP’s and health professionals are part of our community. So is that something that they would find helpful as well?


Dr. Katy Munro [00:08:12] Yeah, I really hope so. I mean, from doing the podcast, we’ve had an enormous amount of really positive feedback from GP’s and other health care professionals who look after people with migraine saying ‘My goodness, I not only learnt how to manage my migraine better, but I’ve also learnt how to look after my patients better’. So yeah, I think it could be for anybody who either has migraine or cares for somebody with migraine in the broadest sense. So it might be that your partner has migraine. If you have a little read of the book, then hopefully you will understand a little better of the kind of impact that it’s having on them. So yes, everybody should buy it, basically.


Swati Raina [00:08:52] Now I know that the book is launching on the 26th of August, but with regards to the Penguin Life Expert series, Lydia, when does that start or when does that launch?


Lydia Yadi [00:09:02] Yes. So we are launching Managing Your Migraine with one other title to celebrate the beginning of the Penguin Life Expert series on the 26th of August. And then we’ve got several more books coming out later this year and next year. And each book is quite short. It offers really concise but informative information about treatment, about symptoms, and as Katy said, about how sort of conditions intersect with nutrition and sleep and exercise and lifestyle habits that people really sort of need to be able to understand to better manage their condition. And they’re all written by leading experts in their fields. And what I think is so great about all of the books in this series is that they explain that what’s going on in the body, what’s going on, and why this condition exists, you know, the science behind it in a really easy to understand way. But then they also offer really warm and supportive advice about how to manage it. And you feel like there is someone there kind of guiding you through it who’s going to be with you for your for your journey and help you get the most out of your doctor’s appointments. So there’s a little section that sort of runs through most of the books in the series about questions to ask your doctor or health care provider, which help you know what to go and ask someone to make the most of those appointments. So it’s helping you, you know, when you’re reading the book by yourself in your bedroom, but also helping you talk to your health care provider as well. And yeah, we’re launching this book at the end of August with another book called Preparing for the Perimenopause and Menopause by Dr. Louise Newson. And then later in the year, we have a book on heart health called Keeping Your Heart Healthy, which is not looking at a specific condition, but sort of looking at overall general whole heart health. Touches on things like cholesterol and high blood pressure and chest pain and heart attacks. But it’s really a kind of comprehensive guide to keeping your heart healthy for a long time and how to prevent any issues further down the line. And then next spring, we’re publishing two more, one on allergies, which is sort of covering hay fever and will be coming out in spring. And that’s written by Dr. Sophie Farouk and then also a book on IBS, as that’s obviously a condition that so many people suffer with and is very frustrating in terms of kind of finding treatment options. And that’s being written by Dr. Lisa Das. And then we’ve got one more that coming in the series about chronic fatigue and how to manage better living with that as again, another condition that is very hard to find solutions for and a lot of stigma surrounding it as well. So that’s being written by Dr. Gerard Coakley and Beverly Knops.


Swati Raina [00:11:48] Wow, that’s a really interesting list there actually. Really, really interesting list and can’t wait for all of them, to be honest. It’s just sounds so interesting. And I think probably Katy would probably agree a lot of these things are such co-morbidities with migraine aren’t they?


Dr. Katy Munro [00:12:06] Absolutely yeah.


Swati Raina [00:12:06] We decided to list those things out. I was like, Oh my Gosh, that’s something that’s so relatable. Even as somebody who suffers a migraine, I can easily think of a few topics in there that I would like to grab my hands on those books and just be able to read that.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:12:20] I think you’re right, Swati. There’s absolutely such a big overlap, isn’t there? Every week we’re seeing patients who have, you know, some of these conditions that Lydia’s just mentioned and going back to what you’re saying Lydia about preparing to see your doctor, I think that’s one of the most useful things because we know how pressurised GP’s are at the moment. We know that, you know, if you’re lucky you get ten minute appointment. Some GP’s are even more hard pressed than that and if you can go prepared knowing, you know, you’ve really understood what your condition is and what you want and what your pathway and journey has been up to the time when you see your GP, then that’s really helpful for everybody and I’m really delighted that that’s a theme running through this expert series. And also very topical with chronic fatigue and long-covid. You know, we’ve seen patients who’ve had worsening of their migraines with having had COVID. And, you know, I’m certainly hearing there’s an overlap with other patients with chronic fatigue having symptoms which are mimicking long-covid. So I’m sure that’s going to be a very popular title as well.


Swati Raina [00:13:30] I do know I can definitely- I can’t talk about the other topics in the communities there. But I do know that the fact that Penguin Group has picked up and looked at migraine as a condition worth sort of talking about because of how undermined this condition sort of gets. In general, I feel like it’s kind of like a recognition, the recognition that this condition impacts so many people and it’s so important to have a dialogue. It’s so important to start having conversations about it. I think that means a lot to the community. I can definitely say that. It’s so important that we start to give the due importance that migraine needs and, you know, sort of talk about the management of it and of course, for the people who suffer from it.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:14:15] There’s such a global impact as well.


Swati Raina [00:14:17] Exactly.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:14:17] You know, when you’re part of the migraine community on social media, it’s really interesting that it is everywhere. People are really struggling and struggling to get the recognition. As you say, it’s underestimated, it’s underdiagnosed and it’s definitely underfunded. And there is an awful lot of work to do. So we’re going to be waving a big flag about recognising migraines, which is what we do already.


Swati Raina [00:14:44] So, Lydia, where can people get these books? Like where is it available? It’s going to be available on Amazon? Is it going to be available on other places? Just tell us a bit about that.


Lydia Yadi [00:14:54] Yeah. So you will be able to buy this book and all the books in the series on Amazon and at Waterstones and Waterstones Online as well. And it will be available as a paperback and also as an e-book so you can buy it and have it downloaded to your Kindle or Apple Books or any other way that you read your digital books. And if you live outside the UK, you’ll still be able to buy it. The English language version will be sold all over the world and I think the best way to find it, depending on where you live, because we might have listeners from all over the place, is probably to search your most local kind of Amazon site and look for it that way. If you can’t find it in local bookstores, then search for online where you would normally buy your books.


Swati Raina [00:15:41] Brilliant. So, again, the book’s coming out on the 26th of August. It’s a Thursday from what I remember. So it’s Thursday, 26th of August. Look out for it. But it’s available for pre-order now. So you can actually go on Amazon, make your pre-orders for the book. Probably get it for people, you know, in and around, whether it’s your friends, family, whether it’s somebody you know from work. And it’s a very good guide to sort of gift to someone who suffers from migraine as well. So you can pre-order now, we have all the links, all the details in the blurbs so look out for that. And Lydia and Katy, thank you so much for joining us today. And Katy, best of luck with the book. I’m sure it’s just going to be amazing and we’re so excited at NMC, for this one. We can’t tell you.


Dr. Katy Munro [00:16:28] And just a quick plug for the episode of our podcast coming soon, where I’m going to be interviewing Dr. Louise Newson on migraine and the perimenopause and menopause. So keep listening and we should have that episode coming out soon.


Swati Raina [00:16:44] Brilliant.


Lydia Yadi [00:16:44] Thank you so much for having me on. I really hope the book helps a lot of your listeners get help, to help them reduce their migraines and get the help that they need.


[00:16:56] You’ve been listening to the Heads Up podcast. If you want more information or have any comments, email us on info@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk. Till next time.

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