Migraine Diagnosis: Where does that Lead you?

migraine diagnosis

Your migraine diagnosis may be new, but the disease is not. Millions of people are diagnosed with migraine and every case is different.  So what’s your diagnosis?  What’s my diagnosis?  What does it mean to be diagnosed and how does that help?  Here’s my non-medical opinion.

Migraine is a Spectrum Disorder

I have a Master’s degree in special education.  It has been really helpful in understanding how the brain works, fails, and where diagnosis and treatment can lead.  I think an example that I can best use to describe the migraine spectrum is comparing Autism to Migraine.  

If you have ever met someone diagnosed with Autism, you understand that that person is an individual and like no one else (and aren’t we all?).  Although, these individuals possess some similar factors that place them onto the Autism spectrum.  Does every person with Autism look the same, act the same, react the same, learn the same way, and have the same health and reactions to treatment?  The answer is an obvious no.  Where one person may seem to have some slight social issues and not much more, another individual may need 100% care for various extreme behaviors.  You may have a full conversation with one person and another may be completely nonverbal and ambivalent to personal interactions.  While one person may see improvement with dietary and behavioral therapy others may require heavy medications and need full-time care with little improvement.  Everyone is different!

Migraine Diagnosis

Recently, I have seen my neurologist for many years and I decided to ask her what my migraine diagnosis was.  I knew the answer was a Chronic Migraine sufferer with neck and shoulder issues caused by migraines which are called Torticollis.  In the beginning, it was important to be diagnosed with something.  It gave me great relief that I, indeed, was sick and not making it up to issues as I was led to believe by so many.  With my diagnosis, I felt vindicated and believed since I was diagnosed, I would be cured.  Years and years later, I know better.  My diagnosis is no longer as important as my journey.   I have been through so many medications, therapies, and procedures that I’m not as concerned about my diagnosis versus my treatment now.

So why ask about my diagnosis?  Like I said, in the beginning, it was huge!  It provided me a starting point and that is what seems to be the best place to start.  Just like people diagnosed with Autism, it’s only the beginning and an idea of where, to begin with, therapies, tests, treatments, and more.  It puts me into a category that I need to find where I fit.  I no longer go to my neurologist to look for a cure.  I don’t think she is going to hand me a script for a pill that will make my disease go away.  I was stuck in this mindset for years! 

Diagnosis Acceptance

I now know it takes work!  Just like in teaching,  I know I can help at school but work needs to be done at home.  They can’t come to me to solve their shortcomings like I can’t expect my doctor to help me without putting in the work myself.  My diagnosis has become the place I started and the road that I have traveled to. 

I helped with the process of diagnosing students and I had parents fight to put a label on their children.  All of us have labels. My diagnosis doesn’t define me.   I think it’s what you do with knowledge of your label and what you do with it.  You have a choice to ignore it, to get more opinions, follow your path, and problem solves along the way.  Once I realized I wasn’t going to be cured and that I needed to fight with a well-rounded approach to many therapies and lifestyle changes, I was empowered.  My label is just part of who I am.  I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a teacher, a blogger, a dog and chocolate lover, a travel enthusiast, a Chronic Migraine sufferer and so much more.

Do you have a migraine diagnosis? 

How do you feel it defines your journey? 

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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  1. Rainbowsaretoobeautiful on February 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Interesting. Several members of my family suffer from migraines, not one the same. I mentioned migraines and autism in the same post just last week but in a different way – you might be interested. http://rainbowsaretoobeautiful.blogspot.com/2016/02/never-prouder-of-last-place.html

    Thanks for your post.

  2. mymigrainelife on February 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Amy Bobbitt on February 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I just recently switch neurologist/headache specialist who tacked on the chronic migraine sufferer too but I also have HM. My sister and my daughter had migraines. My sister also has the HM and chronic migraine, my daughter only migraine with aura. It least I have her to bounce off ideas and compare auras with and she can truly understand my diagnosis.
    We are migraine warriors!!! We are strong!!!

  4. mymigrainelife on February 16, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Agreed! We are strong and fighting together makes a difference!!!

  5. Melissa W on March 2, 2016 at 2:55 am

    I’m a double diagnosis. I get menstrual migraines every single month, with mostly abdominal symptoms (i.e. 2-3 days of vomiting and feeling like my stomach is tying in knots, inability to swallow most anything, and a mild but completely tolerable headache.) And on rare, super awesome and completely unexpected occasions, I suffer from HM; generally only a few times a year now but they were much more frequent in my late teens and early twenties. Nothing like going about your normal life and suddenly feeling like you’re having a stroke. ????

  6. mymigrainelife on June 2, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Reblogged this on My Migraine Life and commented:

    The majority of people with Headache and Migraine are not diagnosed. Here’s where diagnosis can lead you

  7. The Sociable Celiac on March 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    You have such interesting insights on the world! Keep it up!

  8. mymigrainelife on March 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you!

  9. exexadmin on March 20, 2017 at 8:38 am

    That is quite an interesting perspective. I think you’re spot on with the importance of having a diagnosis to use as a starting point. Great post.

  10. mymigrainelife on March 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Thank you.

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