Sunday’s NY times published a front-page article on headache. It talked about the decades (centuries) of neglect of headache disorders – a disease identified as one of the most disabling diseases in the world today. It talks about the FINALLY rising awareness of the seriousness of these diseases.
It talks about new headache treatments – CGRP – and our new understanding of migraine as a neurological and not a circulatory disease.
The fact that women are much more likely to live with severe headache disorders has contributed to the neglect. The fact that it’s an invisible illness has contributed to the neglect. The fact that it’s not something doctors know how to treat – neurological disorders are harder to treat than broken bones – has contributed to the neglect.
It has only been three years – THREE YEARS – since the first drug was approved that was actually designed to treat migraine. MIGRAINE! There has yet to be one released designed to treat cluster headaches.
Headaches – like nausea and fever – are one of the ways that our bodies express that something is wrong and out of balance. They’re listed as a potential side effect of virtually every drug and are a symptom of almost every disease.
Headaches are complicated. They have many causes. There is no magic jellybean that fixes them for everyone. Or even one drug that suddenly ends pain for one person.
But, as this article suggests, things are getting better. We are getting a better understanding of pain processes. We are understanding neurological diseases better and can start to target their causes. We are getting better drugs.
And we are being taken seriously.
Let’s hope for a better future.
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