Most of us get headaches at least once a month, and we seem to accept them as part of everyday life. But migraines are not just common headaches. In fact, migraine statistics show that this is a serious, disabling condition that causes sufferers to miss out on work and social events.
Accompanied by feelings of nausea and severe, throbbing head pain, when a migraine attack occurs, people feel the need to lock themselves up in dark, quiet rooms and throw away the key. However, this is no way to live.
Knowing all the facts and stats about migraines can help you see that you are not alone in feeling the pain and also teach you how to manage it better.
Ten Migraine Statistics&Facts to Bear in Mind
- Children suffer from migraines as well as adults.
- Most migraines are hereditary
- 39 million people in the USA are living with migraine headaches.
- People suffering from chronic headaches are more likely to suffer from other illnesses as well.
- Medical marijuana could be used as an alternative to opioids.
- About 1.2 million visits to the ER are due to acute migraine pain.
- 1 billion people across the world suffer from migraines.
- Suicide rates are higher for migraineurs than for healthy individuals.
- Healthcare costs for chronic migraines exceeded $5 billion.
- THC has 20 times more anti-inflammatory properties than aspirin.
How Many People in the World Have Migraines?
1. 1 billion people across the world suffer from migraines.
(MRF) (Migraine Trust)
It is estimated that about one in seven people worldwide has migraines. These stats make migraines the third most common illness in the world, preceded by cavities and tension-type headaches.
2. Around 2% of the global population experiences chronic migraines.
Chronic migraines are defined as headaches occurring on at least 15 days a month for more than three months, with migraine headaches occurring on at least eight days a month.
3. According to migraine statistics in the UK alone, 190,000 migraine attacks happen every day.
As a result of the disabling effects of this condition, Brits lose about 25 million days from work or school, costing the country approximately $2.77 billion annually in lost productivity and medical bills.
4. 39 million people in the USA are living with migraine headaches.
Around 12% of the US population, adults and children, are affected by migraines, which means there is a migraine sufferer in nearly one in every four US households. Obviously, the prevalence of migraine in the US is pretty high.
5. 18% of US women have migraines.
On the other hand, only 6% of men in the USA experience migraines.
6. Migraines were most common in the Midwest and lowest in the Northeast.
A 2016 survey examined migraine rates in the USA, concluding that recurring headaches were most common in the Midwest (16.4%). In the South and West, approximately 15% suffered from migraine headaches, while almost 14% living in the Northeast said they experienced severe head pain, migraine statistics by state indicate.
Who Gets Migraines and Why?
7. Children suffer from migraines as well as adults.
Although migraine symptoms most commonly appear in adolescence, almost half of migraine attacks happen before the age of 12. Even toddlers can get migraines. Recent studies indicate that baby colic could be an early form of migraine headache.
8. Around 2-4% of children under eight have recurrent migraines.
(American Headache Society)
Children do not experience the same symptoms as adults, migraine stats tell us. Kids usually feel a throbbing pain in both sides of the head during an attack, which lasts for one to two hours, instead of the four-hour headache that adults experience.
9. 10% of US schoolchildren have migraines.
During and after puberty, girls become twice as likely to be affected by migraines than boys. Before the age of 12, it is usually the other way around.
10. 85% of people with chronic migraines are women.
According to chronic migraine statistics, almost 50% of female migraineurs experience an attack every month, while 25% have at least four severe headaches every month. On top of that, it is estimated that one in four women will experience a migraine headache at some point in their lives.
11. Fluctuations in estrogen levels are one of the most common reasons for migraines among women.
(American Headache Society)
This makes sense as one of the most common migraine causes, in addition to stress and sensory stimuli, are fluctuations in estrogen levels, as migraine headache facts confirm. Also, around 60% of female migraine sufferers experience menstrual migraines, which exhibit similar symptoms as common migraine headaches.
12. Endocannabinoid system dysfunction has been considered as one of the causes of migraines.
A person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls various functions, from sleep to pain response. Cannabinoids, found in cannabis, change how cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body function and thus reduce pain signals.
13. Age affects migraine rates.
Migraine symptoms reduce with age. In fact, CDC migraine statistics show that only 6% of adults aged 75 and over had migraines, while 20% of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 were shown to experience migraines.
14. Most migraines are hereditary.
Around 90% of people living with migraines have had a family member who has also experienced migraine attacks. On top of that, a child who has one parent suffering from migraine has a 50% chance of getting it too. If both parents are migraineurs, migraine headaches facts indicate that chances of developing the illness go up to 75%.
15. Hispanic or Latino Americans seem to be most affected by migraine headaches.
A 2017 study showed that as many as 19% of Hispanic respondents experienced migraine headaches once a week, as opposed to the 8% of African Americans and 8% of White/ Caucasians. A large percentage of representatives from all three ethnic groups, over 20%, stated that they experienced headaches multiple times a year.
What Exactly Happens and Why Are Migraines So Bad?
16. A third of migraineurs experience pain on both sides of the head during an attack.
(MRF) (Mayo Clinic)
Although a migraine, exhibited as severe, pulsating pain, is typically localized on one side of the head, in some migraine cases, it can affect both sides. During an attack, sufferers are also sensitive to light, sound, smell, and often feel sick.
17. A third of migraineurs experience warning signs before a migraine attack.
As migraine facts reveal, some people experience symptoms of the prodrome or pre-headache phases hours or days before a migraine strikes. These include strange food cravings, feelings of tiredness and crankiness, as well as constipation or diarrhea.
18. The length of migraine attacks varies.
(Mayo Clinic) (CDC)
How long do migraines last? A migraine headache can last between four and 72 hours. It is usually accompanied by nausea, loss of appetite, and heightened sensitivity to light and smell.
19. About 20% of people affected by migraines experience an aura, according to migraine statistics.
Although it is different for everyone, a migraine aura is typically characterized by blurry vision or flashes of light. In some rare cases, it can even impair speech and movement. Auras usually last 10 to 30 minutes.
20. 75% of all migraine attacks happen without aura.
Although they are not accompanied by visual symptoms, these types of migraines can also cause changes in vision, dizziness, and fatigue.
21. Almost 80% of migraineurs also experience a migraine hangover, migraine prevalence stats show.
(American Migraine Foundation)
The final stage of the migraine attack, also called postdrome, happens after the headache subsidies. It typically lasts for 24 to 48 hours, and it leaves the sufferer weak, defocused, and depressed.
22. People suffering from chronic headaches are more likely to suffer from other illnesses as well.
It is revealed that migraine sufferers are more prone to experiencing anxiety or mood disorders than healthy individuals. Other common comorbidities with severe headaches, put forth by migraine facts and figures, include strokes, high blood pressure, and epilepsy.
23. Depression accompanies migraines.
Almost 80% of people with migraine symptoms also experienced depression. Known for its relaxing properties and positive effects on serotonin receptors, CBD can be more effective in treating depression than traditional medicine.
24. Migraine is the sixth most disabling condition in the world.
In terms of years lost due to disability, headache disorders collectively were ranked third in the Global Burden of Disease Study. These alarmingly high migraine disability stats should get more support for this illness.
25. Three in 10 of migraine sufferers need bed rest during a migraine attack.
(National Headache Foundation)
Nine out of 10 of people with migraines say they cannot function normally during an attack, while over a quarter state they missed a day of work due to severe migraine headaches. Even 30% report that they have missed out on a social activity.
26. Suicide rates are higher for migraineurs than for healthy individuals.
(American Journal of Managed Care) (National Headache Foundation)
As indicated by migraine suicide statistics, people with this illness are twice more likely to attempt suicide. Living with chronic pain is not easy as 76% of migraineurs say they are concerned that they will suffer from this condition all their lives, and 37% fear that the next migraine attack is coming.
27. Healthcare costs for chronic migraines exceeded $5 billion.
Chronic migraine sufferers spent more than $41 billion on the treatment of other comorbid illnesses that co-occur with migraines, such as high blood pressure and depression, migraine statistics for 2015 show.
Migraine Treatment Facts and Figures
28. About 1.2 million visits to the ER are due to acute migraine pain.
Despite the ER visits, over 50% of all migraineurs are never diagnosed. The vast majority of people with migraines don’t consult a doctor or get migraine medications for their pain.
29. Only 4% of people with migraines visit a headache or pain specialist.
There were as little as 500 certified headache specialists in the United States, as indicated by treatment and migraine statistics for 2018.
30. 71% of US respondents in a migraine survey stated that they are happy with the healthcare provided by their doctor.
Nearly 35% complained that their physician isn’t effectively treating their migraines, while 79% said that their doctor listens to and acknowledges them when they talk about what causes migraines for them and the complications that arise.
31. 54% of migraineurs use sleep as one of the migraine remedies.
(Statista)(Medical News Today)
Other methods to alleviate migraine symptoms include ventilating rooms or reducing stress, migraine sufferers statistics indicate. Only 19% reported that they treat pain with medication, whereas 15% use other treatments. Some report using CBD oil for migraine as an alternative relief for the pain.
32. There are two categories of migraine medication.
One type is used during migraine attacks and aims to treat symptoms; the other is preventive medication, which is taken regularly and designed to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.
33. Excedrin Migraine is usually prescribed to treat acute headache pain.
Excedrin Migraine drug facts show that it is mainly used to treat migraines. Excedrin is an OTC pain killer. It is a combination of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen. Due to high prevalence rates, sales of Excedrin Migraine generated $96.1 million in the USA this year.
34. 12% of people suffering from migraines were taking preventive migraine medications.
(National Headache Foundation)
Drugs used to prevent migraines range from blood pressure medication and antidepressants to Botox injections.
35. 98% of migraineurs received migraine treatment for acute pain, as indicated by the migraine statistics.
(National Headache Foundation) (Statista)
The usually prescribed medications for relief include pain killers and opioid medications. Advil was one of the most preferred analgesic tablets in the US in 2019, with over $449 million in revenue.
36. Medical marijuana could be used as an alternative to opioids.
(Medical News Today)
Even 81% of survey respondents stated that marijuana for migraines was more effective alone than used together with opioids, while 97% agreed that they would decrease their opioid intake when using marijuana, migraine statistics in the US show. Even though they are commonly prescribed pain relievers, patients have trouble using them due to the numerous side effects of opioids.
37. Researchers recommend a daily dose of 400-500 mg of magnesium for migraines.
(Medical News Today)
However, some experts suggest that more than the recommended dose is needed for the maximum effect, i.e. a dose of 600 mg taken for at least three to four months. The problem is that high doses of magnesium supplements could have a negative effect on head pain, nutrition facts about migraine warn.
38. THC helps with migraine symptoms.
In addition to acting as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, THC, one of the components of medical marijuana for migraines, has antiemetic properties as well. This means that it is effective against nausea and vomiting, two of the most common migraine symptoms.
39. THC has 20 times more anti-inflammatory properties than aspirin.
The two components of cannabis mostly related to pain management are THC and CBD. Both compounds ease inflammation, but migraine headaches facts prove that compared to NSAIDs, their side effects seem to be less dangerous.
40. Strains with 15% THC and over are preferred by migraineurs.
People living with migraine pain report that the most effective strains of marijuana for migraines are the ones that are rich in THC and ease sleep. Purple Kush and OG Kush are some of the most popular marijuana strains for migraines.
41. A study showed a 55% decrease in acute pain after a 200 mg dose of THC-CBD, migraine statistics for 2017 point out.
(European Academy of Neurology)
The THC-CBD combination reduced migraine attacks by 40%. In addition, the combination was found to reduce acute migraine pain by 43.5% among participants with chronic migraines.
42. Almost 14% of respondents in a 2015 survey said they used CBD for pain-related conditions.
(Care By Design)
After 30 days of CBD-rich cannabis therapy, participants suffering from migraines and headaches reported the greatest improvement in wellbeing. More importantly, all patients affected by head disorders said they felt less pain and discomfort after the therapy, migraine statistics from 2015 revealed.
43. The frequency of migraine headaches decreased from 10.4 to 4.6 per month for daily users of medical marijuana.
(American College of Clinical Pharmacy)
In a 2016 study on medical marijuana and migraines, almost 48% reported positive effects from the daily use of marijuana. What is more, over 40% stated that the number of migraine headaches decreased by half.
44. 73% of American voters support the legalization of medical marijuana.
Where can you get medical marijuana for migraines? Migraine statistics by state indicate that marijuana is now legal for medical use in 33 states in the USA, with many Americans realizing the healing properties of cannabis.
A migraine may not kill you or result in long-term hospitalization, but it is a condition you are stuck with for the rest of your life. It is also one that seriously affects your physical and mental health and inhibits your daily activities.
There are medications you can try, although they could lead to other complications such as medication-overuse headaches. Luckily, migraine statistics point to other migraine remedies, like CBD oil, that can treat migraine symptoms without any unwanted side-effects.