The ABC’s of Migraines


I asked my friends in a Chronic Migraine Awareness support group to play a game with me. I asked them to come up with a migraine-related word for each letter of the alphabet and what follows below is only a fraction of the spectacular results:

A is for Axert, Aura, Acupuncture, Awful, Acetaminophen, Ambien, Abdominal migraines, Attack, Agony, Apathy, Alcohol

B is for Botox, Banging pain, Butalbital, Benadryl, Blackouts, Bankrupt, Bullshit, Biofeedback, Blurred Vision, Bright, Blinding

C is for CT Scan, Crying, Chronic, Chamomile, Cymbalta, Coca-Cola, Caffeine, Codeine, Crushing, Compazine, Cephaly, Constipation, Climate, Cynical, Coping, Constant

D is for Diagnosis, Discomfort, Dizziness, Dread, Disability, Dead, Depression, Dilaudid, Debilitating, Darkness, Depo-medrol, Depakote, Divorce, Drug-seeker, Demerol, Daggers, Deprivation, Disabling, Desperate

E is for Ergotamine, Endless, Exhaustion, EKG, Excedrin, Excruciating pain, Elephant on your head, EEG, Emotional, Elavil, Ever-present

F is for Feverfew, Foggy, “Faking it”, Frazzled, Fear, Frustration, Fioricet, Failed medications, Failure, Frozen peas, Flexeril, Fiorinal

G is for Gabapentin, Ginger, Gruesome, Guilt, Gastric issues, Generic, GERD, Greed

H is for Hospital, Hurts, Helpless, Hypnotherapy, Hyper-sensitivity, Headlights, Hell, Hormones, Hemiplegic migraines, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, HELP!, Hyperacusis, Hyperosmia, Horrendous

I is for Ice packs, Impaired, Injections, Irritability, Ignorance, Imitrex, In-patient, Invisible illness, IV, Infiltrated vein, Insomnia, Identity stolen, Inhumane, Intravenous, Injustice

J is for Jabbing pain, Jealousy, Jabbering, Juicing, Judgment, Joke (the doctors we see), Jackhammer, Journey, Jarring, Jeering

K is for Keppra, Knots, Klonopin, Knocked out, Kinship, Ketorolac

L is for Lavender, Life-changing, Limited lifestyle, Labetalol, Lost friendships, Lortab, Lifeless, Longing, Lumbar puncture, Lost, Lonely, Lazy, Lightheaded, Leering

M is for Migraine, Medrol dose pack, Mind-blowing pain, Maxalt, Memory loss, Moods, Money, Moody, Maddening, Midrin, Migraineur, Migraine Warrior, MRI, Morphine, Misery, Misunderstood, Madness, Minutiae, MSG

N is for Nausea, Neurologist, Needs, NSAIDs, Needles, Nothingness, Norco, Neurontin, Nadalol, Nightmare, Not believed, No, Nervous, Negative, Neck pain

O is for Ongoing pain for days on end, Over-the-Counter relief, Overpowering, Oxygen treatments, Oppressive, Out-patient, Orgasm, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Overlooked, Opiates, Observations

P is for Pets that comfort us, Photophobia, Pain, Phenergan, Prescriptions, Percocet, Paxil, Pharmacy, Prednisone, Painsomnia, Predisposition, Phonophobia, Pristiq, Panic, Preservatives

Q is for Quiet, Quest for a cure, Queasy, Quacks (the doctors who call us drug-seekers!), Quaking

R is for Rest, Relpax, Relax, Rain, Reglan, Restrictive, Rejection, Reclusive, Rue, Reflective, Ruined

S is for Sucks, Sick, Spoons, Silence, Shots, Sumavel Dosepro, Steroids, Side effects, Sunglasses, Silent migraines, Saline, Solumedrol, Solitude, Stolen, Secluded, Scared, Sleepless, Stadol, Shoulder pain

T is for Tension, Topamax, Triptans, Triage, Toradol, Tummy Troubles, Time lost, Tired, Torture, Tormented, Taken, Troubled, Terrified

U is for Understanding family through CMA, Unrelenting, Umbrella (to shield us from the sun), Unbearable, Ugh, Uneasy, Unwavering, Unseen pain, Unemployment, Underestimated, Unchanged

V is for Vomiting, Verapamil, Vicodin, Veins, Vistaril, Valium, Vacations lost, Vicious, Vicarious, Vigilant

W is for Weather, Weary, Wine, Withdrawal, Withdrawn, Weakness, WHY ME?, Woozy, Wasted, Warranted, Worried

X is for X-rays, Xanax, Xyloid, Xeroderma

Y is for Yearning, Yawning, Young age onset, Youth stolen, Yucky, Yelling, Yakked

Z is for Zonisimide, Zofran, Zombie, Zoloft, Zomig, Zoned out, Zero

Some of these are medications, some are treatments, some are feelings, some are symptoms or side effects. They all resonated with us in such a way that an entire online community came together to compile this list in a day. Perhaps you will think twice next time before calling a migraine “just a headache.”

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