Patients who deal with chronic migraines often feel as if they are sidelined from life by their conditions. For professional athletes such as Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat and Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos, this feeling was a reality on more than one occasion.Migraines have forced NBA All-Star Wade to sit on the sidelines and behind the Heat's bench on more than one occasion. He suffers from migraines with visual auras, and he has even tried playing with dark goggles on in an effort to avoid light triggers. As a former All-Pro running back with the Broncos, Davis once won a Super Bowl while in the midst of a terrible migraine that blurred his vision. It turns out that Davis forgot to take his preventive medication before the game, and he had no choice but to play through the headache.
How Migraines Affect LifestylesClinical surveys of British and American migraine patients show that many of them feel that their condition prevents them from living a full life. More than half of the patients surveyed think that migraines prevent them from reaching their full potential in life.
From social activities to careers and from relationships to errands and chores, about half of all migraine patients feel as if they are missing out on the best life has to offer. Some of the most common complaints include:
- Missing days from work
- Not being able to concentrate in class
- Staying home instead of going out with family and friends
- Experiencing stress all the time
The Stigma of Migraines
Patients who live with other chronic conditions such as asthma and epilepsy do not feel as burdened as migraine patients. Whereas asthmatic and epileptic patients tend to elicit sympathy from others, migraine patients often feel stigmatized; this idea arises from the aspect of headaches as “invisible conditions,” and thus some patients think that they may be perceived as malingerers.
The debilitating effects of migraines can make life very difficult for patients, but they should not feel as if they have to sit on the sidelines. In a sense, migraine conditions are similar to disabilities to the extent that they can be overcome enough to allow patients to live full lives. The key is in learning to manage the condition in various situations and settings.
Terrell Davis and Dwayne Wade have been very successful in their careers despite their migraine conditions, but it has not always been easy for them. Wade has explained that watching his teammates from the sidelines is not always enjoyable, particularly when they are struggling on offense. Davis had to tough it out in more than one game. Still, these two athletes learned to balance their conditions to the extent that they were able to shine in their respective sports and help their teams win championships.