How to Support Someone Who Suffers from Migraine

If someone you care about suffers from migraine attacks, you likely know how debilitating they can be. So, how can you support them? Here are some practical tips to help you be there for your loved one and support them through their migraine episodes.

Understand Their Condition

The first step in supporting someone with migraines is to understand what they’re experiencing. Migraines are not just headaches; they often come with other symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and even visual disturbances. Recognize that when someone has a migraine, they may be in severe pain and discomfort, making it difficult for them to carry out their daily activities.

With that in mind, here are a few pointers on what not to say to a migraine sufferer:

  • “It’s just a headache, right?” Wrong! A migraine is much more painful than an ordinary headache, so much so that it can affect a person’s ability to function. Dismissing their pain as “just a headache” can be hurtful and undermine what they’re experiencing.
  • “You don’t look sick.” Migraines are an invisible illness, and it’s not always apparent how much someone may be suffering.
  • “Maybe it’s just in your head.” Implying that the person’s migraines are imaginary or psychological is not only inaccurate but also dismissive of their experience.
  • “You’ll be fine.” Although a migraine attack will subside over time, telling a sufferer this while they’re going through the pain can feel frustrating.

Be Empathetic and Offer Practical Support

Migraines can be unpredictable. Remember, they are not choosing to feel this way, and it’s not just a minor inconvenience. Be flexible, patient, and understanding if they need to step back, cancel plans, change their routine, or seem irritable due to a migraine attack. Sometimes, practical help can be more valuable than words. Offer to run errands, prepare meals, or take care of household chores when they are experiencing a migraine attack. Your practical assistance can help alleviate some of their stress and allow them to rest and recover.

Learn Their Migraine Triggers

Various factors can trigger migraines, and these triggers differ from person to person. Some common triggers include:

Talk to your loved one and try to identify their specific triggers. Once you know what triggers their migraine, you can help them avoid them or find ways to help manage them better.

Validate Their Experience

Instead of making assumptions or offering unsolicited advice, validate their experience by listening to them and acknowledging their pain and discomfort. A simple “I’m here for you” or “I understand this is tough for you” can go a long way in providing emotional support.

Create a Migraine-Friendly Environment

Creating a comfortable and migraine-friendly environment can make a world of difference for someone who suffers from migraine. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Reduce Noise and Light: Migraine sufferers are often sensitive to light and sound. To minimize discomfort for them, try to keep the environment quiet and dimly lit.
  • Provide a Quiet Space: Offer a quiet and dark room where they can rest during a migraine attack and avoid disturbing them until it subsides.
  • Offer Supportive Tools: Items like ice packs, a comfortable pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, and a cool eye mask can provide relief during a migraine episode. Keep these items on hand to stay prepared for a migraine attack.

Encourage Them to Seek Treatment

If your loved one’s migraines are severe, frequent, or debilitating to the point that it’s infringing on their day-to-day life, encourage them to seek medical advice. There are various treatment options available, and a health care provider can help determine the right plan for them, whether it’s medications, lifestyle changes, or a non-invasive medical device like gammaCore™ non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator (nVNS).

gammaCore nVNS is clinically proven to treat and prevent migraines by delivering gentle electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, which can help relieve pain. What sets gammaCore apart is its portability and ease of use. It’s a handheld device that can be used at home or on the go, making it convenient for migraine sufferers to manage their pain effectively.

To see if gammaCore is right for your loved one, visit our clinic finder to locate a health care provider near you, or contact our dedicated Customer Experience team at 888-903-2673 or