If you suffer from migraines, your spouse probably suffers, too.
That’s the conclusion of researchers who surveyed more than 4,000 people with the debilitating headaches and their spouses/domestic partners.
“This study highlights the significant burden that migraine can have on a wide range of family activities, parenting responsibilities, spousal relationships and family finances,” said lead author Dawn Buse, director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City.
More than two out of five people with migraines and 23 percent of their spouses/partners said they believed the person with migraines would be a better parent if they did not have the condition. About half of the people with migraines had missed at least one family activity in the past month because of a migraine, the study found.
About one-third of migraine sufferers and 21 percent of their spouses/partners said migraines made them worry about the long-term financial security of their family. This concern was highest among those with chronic migraines (15 or more days a month) and those with more frequent attacks.
“Respondents with migraine and their partners noted a great deal of emotional distress related to how this condition affects their family member, including guilt, worry and sadness,” Buse said in a Montefiore news release. “These findings underscore the challenges and negative impact that people with migraine and their family members’ experience.”
The consequences of migraines can be devastating and far-reaching for people with migraines and their families, agreed Dr. Richard Lipton, director of Montefiore Headache Center.
“As a next step, we are analyzing responses from the children of those with migraine, who are 13 and older,” he added.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraine headaches. And one in four U.S. households has a member with migraines.
The study findings were published recently in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on migraine headaches.