Most migraine sufferers report more severe symptoms during pandemic 3 weeks ago

Most migraine sufferers report more severe symptoms during pandemic

"Migraine, especially the more chronic forms, can be a very disabling neurological disorder..."

Most migraine have reported experiencing more migraines and more severe symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

58% of sufferers are getting more frequent migraines, while 69% have reported that their symptoms have become more severe during the pandemic.

The vast majority (84%) have cited Covid-19 related stress as the prime cause of their migraines.

The research, conducted by the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) and Novartis Ireland, shows that out of 120 respondents living with migraine in Ireland, the vast majority are suffering more due to the pandemic.

Changes to routine triggered moderate to severe migraines in 67% percent of people, while a lack of sleep and increased screen time triggered migraines in a similar number.

Of those experiencing frequent migraines, one third were working from home, while 20% weren't working anymore. Elsewhere, 13 percent of people said that the severity of their migraines had decreased since the beginning of the pandemic.

Patrick Little, CEO, the Migraine Association of Ireland, says that the survey results show the Covid-19 pandemic has been a stressful time for most migraine patients.

"We are particularly concerned that over four – fifths of those surveyed said that Covid-related stress is causing them to suffer from more frequent migraines," he says.

"Especially at a time when some appointments with healthcare professionals were being postponed."

This week (September 6 - 12) marks Migraine Awareness Week. The complex neurological condition is thought to affect between 12-15% of the Irish population, or roughly half a million people.

The often misunderstood and mismanaged condition can affect people of all ages, although it is three times more likely to affect women than men.

Dr. Martin Ruttledge, Consultant Neurologist at Beaumont Hospital, adds that although the increase in migraines among patients is worrying, it is not surprising.

"It is not unexpected, as we know that stress is a very common exacerbating factor in this condition, and it has been a very stressful period for everybody over the last 4-5 months with the Covid pandemic," he says.

"Migraine, especially the more chronic forms, can be a very disabling neurological disorder, and the worldwide uncertainty in recent months has only made the situation worse.

"Patients should seek advice from their primary care doctors and other healthcare professionals if they are struggling."

If you are struggling with migraine and need someone to talk to, you can email info@migraine.ie or call 1850 200 378.