First, heartfelt congratulations to everyone who participated in the wealth of activities celebrating Migraine and Headache Awareness Month 2017 (MHAM) Thanks to all who worked on and participated in the Shades of Migraine and World Migraine Solidarity Day campaign. If you did not hear about this effort, initiated by the Association of Migraine Disorders, visit
to learn about it. The campaign was run by a coalition of more than 2 dozen organizations and blogs. Seeing this coalition come together in a matter of weeks was encouraging but not surprising, as we are all on the same "team", working on behalf of millions of migraine sufferers. Across
June's MHAM activities the number of people participating reached new heights. We hope this vigorous response heralds a continued upswing in our movement and greater recognition of migraine disease.
While working on this newsletter, I coincidentally turned and looked at a co-worker who is an insulin dependent diabetic. She has an illness that can be debilitating, even life threatening. However, we don't attach stigma to Jenn's diabetes. She has a tangible illness. Jenn takes medication to control it. Not so with migraine, especially the chronic version. We treat people who suffer with migraine differently, in some cases with extreme prejudice. Migraine is often described as "the invisible disease" because of the lack of imaging, lab tests, or EEG that may indicate it. As a result, the disability can be viewed with suspicion.
How did this stigma begin? Ancient Roman writings of Galen, an early physician/philosopher, are credited with first naming of and describing the illness. The renowned German abbess Hildegard of Bingen (a migraine sufferer herself) recognized that migraine often afflicted one half of the head at a time. She took migraine, and its excruciating pain and aura most seriously indeed. This takes us up through 12th Century. William Dunbar the Scottish poet of the late 1400s immortalized migraine in poetry, describing the phenomena of prodrome and aphasia.