Are migraines a disability? In my experience yes!
inclusivelivingconcepts was abandoned because, at the end of April, I started having horrific migraines which meant that until recently I haven’t been able to do anything but curl up and pray for the pain to stop. Very dramatic, but unfortunately true as many of the disability community will agree. Whether it is classed as a disability or not officially is down to how affected you are. In my case, pain like that is temporary. I couldn’t do anything sometimes as I couldn’t see from my left eye.
Are migraines disabling?
Professor Peter Goadsby at Kings College London and the trustee of the migraine trust describes a migraine as,
“an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”
Taking this definition, the answer to the question, are migraines a disability is also a resounding yes as it is described as an instability in the brain.
An individual cannot help the fact that they are prone to migraines, but if specific triggers are realised, they may be avoided. An example is watching too much TV or reading without glasses if needed. Some people do not have triggers but a big one for me is stress and overexertion.
Substandard Care causes massive stress!
My posts have complained about the care system since I started this blog. People who actually care and who want to do the job are few and far between. Why do people apply for jobs and then just disappear without saying anything? I’ve had it with interviews too, people say they’ll turn up and then don’t.
I don’t understand why people don’t do what they say they will. I’m starting to wonder if I will find a team of people that I’m comfortable with but am trying to stay positive and not take it personally. This stress causes my muscles to tense up even more than usual. This is the double whammy of my Cerebral Palsy increasing the chance that I will experience a debilitating migraine.
Are migraines a disability that qualifies a person for benefits?
Yes, if your migraines are likely to last over twelve months and they prevent you from working. It all depends on how a migraine affects an individual and whether treatments are effective.
Medication for migraines
The medical profession’s attitude towards medication, in general, has shocked me! I don’t like taking more medication than I need but I couldn’t stand the agony of my migraines! I take some tablets regularly due to my Cerebral Palsy. Baclofen is the main one since I hurt my back trying to live independently, (carer free,) without having access to the right help.
I rang my GP as I couldn’t cope with the pain. I find getting access to a doctor really difficult since the pandemic.
When I did get to speak to a doctor I was told I could take Naproxen, Codine, Paracetamol, Baclofen and Diazepam together if need be! This was a big difference from the cautionary tale I usually got. Diazepam is the only drug doctors didn’t want me taking long-term. Thankfully I have now come off all non-daily tablets. I find it crazy that society would rather I pill pop rather than get the treatment I need.
It is now July 2023 and I have just got to the top of the physiotherapy waiting list, received an appointment for my local pain clinic and have an OT that I can contact. I first wrote this post in October 2022. Maybe this is why pills are prescribed, doctors know that it takes ages to gain access to the appointments needed. It’s taken two years for me to get these appointments.
Different types of migraines
According to the NHS, there are three categories of migraines. To date, I have always had a migraine with aura. Aura in this context means symptoms. The three main types of migraine are:
- Migraine without aura which has no warning signs at all.
- Migraine with aura. This has warning signs like feeling numb and tingly, seeing lines in your vision, feeling dizzy or having difficulty speaking.
- Migraine aura without headache, aka the silent migraine. This is where you get the symptoms above but without the headache.
Treatments for Migraines
Apart from painkillers, there are medicines called triptans which affect the serotonin in the brain to relieve the symptoms of a migraine. There are different types of these medicines sumatriptan is often recommended, according to NICE and works to narrow the blood vessels in the brain. This is based on the theory that migraines are caused when the blood vessels become too wide.
Medicines like cyclizine are used to help stop an individual from feeling or being sick. Not only can the effects of a migraine cause sickness but triptans can cause this effect too. Changes to lifestyle are recommended, depending on what triggers an individual. Relaxation techniques and acupuncture may also be an option.
For more information and help with migraines visit The Migraine Trust.