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Living with migraine

Migraine imposes a significant burden not only on the person living with the disease, but also on family, friends, employers and society as a whole.


In fact, migraine is the second leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide.1 Migraine also generates significant direct and indirect economic and societal costs, including medical costs and reduced productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism.2

Nearly one third (32%) of people with migraine avoid planning activities because they fear having to cancel due to migraine3

53% of people with migraine have attacks that result in significant impairment and often require bed rest4

Migraine prevalence is highest during the most productive ages of adulthood: 20–50 years old5

Patients who suffer from migraine at higher frequency are more likely to experience cephalalgiaphobia, fear of a migraine attack.6


Helping patients recognise and describe the impact of migraine on their lives

Migraine diaries and assessment tools

A migraine diary helps people keep track of their migraine attacks and can provide valuable information to:


  • Identify triggers and prevent future attacks7,8
  • Inform the course of treatment by highlighting disruptive side effects, insufficient efficacy or opportunities for preventive therapy7,8
  • Highlight the impact of the headache disorder on the person’s life, prompting discussions about what can be done to manage this8


Encourage your patients to use a migraine diary; templates can be downloaded and printed out or the patient can use a digital app, such as Migraine Buddy to record the details of their migraine and gather informaton about their attacks, such as triggers to avoid.


Tools are also available to help your patients identify and quantify their level of disability due to migraine:



  1. Vos T et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet 2016; 388(10053): 1545–1602

  2. Steiner TJ et al. The impact of headache in Europe: principal results of the Eurolight project. J Headache Pain 2014; 15: 31

  3. Lipton RB et al. The family impact of migraine: population-based studies in the USA and UK. Cephalalgia 2003; 23(6): 429–440

  4. Lipton RB et al. Prevalence and burden of migraine in the United States: data from the American Migraine Study II. Headache 2001; 41(7): 646–657

  5. Stovner LJ et al. Epidemiology of headache in Europe. Eur J Neurol 2006; 13(4): 333–345

  6. Giannini G et al. Cephalalgiaphobia as a feature of high-frequency migraine: a pilot study. J Headache Pain 2013; 14(1): 49

  7. Silberstein SD. Practice parameter: evidence-based guidelines for migraine headache (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology 2000; 55(6): 754–762

  8. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Headaches in over 12s: diagnosis and management. Clinical guideline 150. September 2012 (updated 2015)