Hope is on the horizon for those battling migraines, headaches
CHICAGO - Most people have probably experienced a headache but for some the pain is debilitating.
It may not have to be that way.
National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month aims to educate people about successful new treatments to ease the pain.
The National Headache Foundation says at least 40 million Americans suffer from migraines and migraines are the third-most common illness in the world.
Whether chronic or occasional, it’s important to know what triggers your headaches.
Dr. Merle Diamond of Chicago’s Diamond Headache Clinic says there are many new treatments that don’t even involve medication.
"There are all kinds of stimulators you can use to help block the pain signals," Diamond said. "Sometimes biofeedback can help, sort of meditation with the computer. And you can do acupuncture. I mean there’s all kinds of different treatments that can be effective. You have to figure out what’s comfortable for you."
Daniel King, 25, said he has suffered from migraines since he was 10 years old.
He described the feeling as "debilitating, disabling."
"A lot of times I have to call off work, call off school, just shielding yourself in a dark room," King said. "The nausea is so bad that you can’t eat anything."
King says relief finally came in a monthly injection he gives himself.
"So just last winter I got my first migraine specific medication," he said. "Before that I used over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen."
Finding the right medication was life-changing.
King says he wishes he knew about available treatments earlier and hopes the campaign this month gets the word out to the millions who may be suffering silently.
One major focus this year is educating healthcare professionals.
Look for the color purple on signs, t-shirts and the Chicago skyline, a reminder of National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Which runs through June.