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‘Self Care and Migraine’ Survey Results

06 September 2020



London, 26 August, 2020: This Migraine Awareness Week the National Migraine Centre are focusing on ‘Self Care and Migraine’. Migraine is a neurological disease, which is often not taken seriously and hugely underappreciated. Migraine can cause not only head pain, but nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, loss of speech, vertigo, confusion, and sensitivity to light, smells, movement, sounds and touch. The National Migraine Centre wanted to focus on what ‘self-care’ aspects may or may not help those that suffer, including gut health, sleep, exercise and stress management. It is important to highlight that there is no ‘cure’ for migraine and that self-care is only one small way to help manage migraines.


These are some of the interesting findings from a new survey, carried out on 1,008 migraine sufferers, by the National Migraine Centre, the only UK charity that treats migraine and headaches.

Gut Health:
• 66% of people have changed their diet to try to help their migraine.
• 44% of people notice cravings for certain foods before a migraine attack. The most common cravings were sweet foods (eg chocolate), salty foods (eg crisps) and carbohydrates.
• 9 in 20 migraine sufferers have not been prescribed medication to help with their nausea or vomiting.

• 1 in 50 people with migraine have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea.
• 59% found they often get a migraine when they wake up, but only 9% found an attack often started before they went to sleep.
• 63% said that a ‘lie in’ can sometimes trigger a migraine attack.

• 46% stated that exercise did not help their migraine, whereas 20% felt exercise did help.
• 54% found brisk walking the best type of exercise to help their migraine. This was followed by exercises like yoga, pilates, tai chi and swimming.

Stress Management:
• Over 3 out of 5 people felt that migraine and stress were linked.
• 37% felt that their migraines worsened when they were currently stressed, whereas 20% found it worsened when the stress reduced.
• 1 in 4 people drank more caffeine when stressed.

The research was anonymous and was conducted by the National Migraine Centre between 15th and 19th August 2020.

David Bloomfield, CEO of the National Migraine Centre, says: “These statistics come at an important time while many are still shielding due to Covid-19. It is important that we look after ourselves, especially when living with a lifelong condition such as migraine. Sadly there is no ‘cure’ for migraine and what works for one person does not always work for another, however we hope that the results from this survey may help people with migraine to self-care and raise awareness amongst friends and families. Migraine is a complex condition and lifestyle is just one of many factors, which can contribute to migraine attacks. The National Migraine Centre is always here to support those struggling.”

For help and further information, call the National Migraine Centre on 020 7251 3322 or visit www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk.

Additional Notes:
• National Migraine Centre is the only national charity that provides treatment for migraine and headache sufferers. It was founded in 1980 by two neurologists and has treated more than 60,000 patients. In addition to this the National Migraine Centre is committed to advocating their cause and educating healthcare professionals. Migraine sufferers can self-refer to see a headache specialist doctor at the centre. Visit our website: www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk
• 89% of survey respondents were female and 11% were male.
• 28% were aged between 55-64, 26% between 45-54, 17% between 35-44, 17% 65+, 9% between 25-34, 2% between 18-24 and under 1% were under 18 years old.
• 62% of respondents were episodic migraine sufferers (0-14 pain days in a month)
• 38% of respondents were chronic migraine sufferers (more than 15 pain days in a month)