Source: BBC News
By Lauren Sharkey
The first time I experienced a migraine was one evening after school. A dull headache turned into splitting pain, blurring my vision and converting my bedroom light into a source of pure agony. Then came the vomiting. It’s a cycle I’ve experienced countless times in recent years – one that forced me to quit my job and left me feeling helpless.
A migraine attack has long been passed off as ‘just a headache’. But while ‘normal’ headaches can usually be held at bay with a paracetamol or two, a migraine is aggressive, sometimes enough to be severely debilitating. It has no conclusive cause (hormones and abnormal brain activity are just two potential reasons) or sustainable treatment on offer.
Perhaps it’s little surprise, then, that the world’s leading survey of health conditions across 195 countries found that, in every year from 1990 to 2016, migraine attacks remained the second-largest global contributor to years lived with disability. They come with a huge economic cost, too, causing an estimated 25 million sick days to be taken in the UK alone each year. But compared to their health and economic burden, migraines remain one of the world’s most under-funded diseases.