Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stress a Migraine trigger? What's the deal?

There are some issues, even in medicine, on which even the best of the best disagree.Seldom are such issues black and white. There are often points to support both sides. The issue of whether or not stress is a Migraine trigger is one of those.

For much of my life, I was told to relax, that stress was bringing on my Migraines. Consulting my Migraine journal, I could never make sense of that statement because I could find no correlation between times of stress and my Migraine patterns. Of course, some of the people who told me to relax, were also the same uniformed, patronizing fools who told me to have a hysterectomy to stop my Migraines.

What disturbs me about the disagreement over stress as a Migraine trigger is the way in which the NHF (National Headache Foundation) chose fairly recently to express their disagreement with those who say stress is not a trigger. Two of the top Migraine sites on the Internet, MAGNUM and About Headaches / Migraine, have had Migraine myths on their sites for years, literally. The NHF has not and still does not. However, on July 31, the issued a press release, "Dispelling Migraine Myths From Fact." Their stated myth #2 is, "Migraines are not triggered by stress." This statement is directly contradictory to the myth sections on both the MAGNUM and About sites.

You may wonder why this disturbs me. Allow me to explain. By issuing a press release in this fashion, the NHF prompted a series of articles all over the Internet. These articles, for the most part, simply regurgitated the press release, accepting everything in it as undisputed fact. So, who in the hell are we supposed to believe? MAGNUM has nothing on their site addressing the NHF release. On, I found this:
Is stress a Migraine trigger or not?

Recently, the National Headache Foundation (NHF) sent out a press release regarding myths about Migraine. One of their myths was, "Stress is not a Migraine trigger." In other words, they're saying that stress is a Migraine trigger.

MAGNUM, the International Headache Society (IHS), and I disagree with that statement. In their International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition, the IHS actually moved stress from their list of "triggering factors" to their list of "aggravating factors."

You can read the rest of this article here.
What I respect about Mrs. Robert's article is found in this question and answer:
So, is the NHF wrong?
I wouldn't say that they're wrong, just that we have a difference in philosophies. That's not always bad, and this isn't a black-and-white issue. As long as questions are asked and a healthy dialogue continues, differences in opinion and philosophy can spark very educational exchanges.

That is a reasonable, respectful, and classy response. It's also one that tends to make me look at things more from her point of view than that of the NHF. Perhaps Ms. Simons at the NHF should give this some consideration.



Elaine said...

I couldn't have said it better. The NHF could have at least acknowledged that there is a difference of opinion regarding stress being a trigger. Shouldn't all of these people be working together?

Louisa said...

Good point, Elaine. I was looking around some sites the other day and started with the NHF site. Thought I'd go to their links page and click to some other sites. The links were almost all to DRUG COMPANIES. Saw no links to other big headache groups at all. Don't know about the ACHE site, but MAGNUM links to the NHF. Gotta wonder.