The far-reaching impacts of migraine

Anyone who lives with migraine will tell you just how much it negatively impacts their daily life. It’s no surprise that according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study, in 2016 migraine was the second leading cause of years lived with disability.

Migraines generally develop in adolescence or early adulthood and the highest prevalence rates in Canada are among people in their 30s and 40s. People who live with episodic migraine can have up to 14 migraine days per month and people with chronic migraine experience more than 15 migraine days each month.

“Many people don’t realize that migraine is a genuine neurological disorder. For migraineurs life can be severely disrupted because they are either experiencing a migraine or waiting for one to come on. It affects people during their most productive years. Migraine can have a significant impact on their careers, family and social activities and overall quality of life,” explains neurologist Dr. Elizabeth Leroux.

This sentiment is echoed in the results of a new global study of migraine patients.   Canadian respondents say the condition has a substantial effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The results show that migraine has long-term and substantial impacts on their work life: 77% feel that their migraine has impacted their professional life and respondents missed on average 5.9 days of work in the last month.

Anika lives with chronic migraine and is very open about it with her employer. “As a nurse it is incredibly important that my employer is aware I live with chronic migraines and the difficulty that can come along with adapting to migraines in the workplace. I am very fortunate to have an employer who understands that on the days where I have increased pain my functionality changes. Tasks get shifted around, I get help from other colleagues and I remain productive but in a different way.”

The survey results also suggest there are significant additional costs associated with migraine that impact their private life and 71 per cent claim that migraine has impacted their personal relationships.

> June is Migraine Awareness Month. Increased awareness and understanding will help empower those suffering from the condition. For more information, please go to or