Current Study on Migraines and Income
The study included 162,705 individuals over the age of 12. Participants were asked various questions, including: whether or not they had symptoms of migraines; the age at the onset of any migraine symptoms that they reported; and their current household income. For the purpose of this study, the threshold for low income was $22,500 or less per year, and the standard for high income was $60,000 or more per year.
The results of the study showed that migraines are definitely more common in individuals from lower income households. In higher and middle-income households, about 1/4 women suffered from migraines. This number rose even further to 37% in women from lower income households. The same trend was seen in men. The trend was seen in all individuals even after the researchers adjusted for other factors including race, age and gender.
Interestingly, the current study also found evidence suggesting that individuals from lower income households were not only more likely to suffer from migraines, but they were also more likely to report that the pain that they experienced with their migraines was severe. Additionally, they were more likely to report that their migraines led to severe disability and contributed to missed time from work and/or school.
The results suggest that there is a link between the stressors associated with lower income households and migraines. Future research needs to identify what these stressors are so that they can be addressed with individuals from lower income households. Once they are identified and addressed, the frequency of migraines and severe pain that some lower income individuals report may start to decline.
Until the stressors associated with lower income are identified, teaching all migraine sufferers proper pain management strategies to deal with their migraine pain is an ideal way to improve quality of life. There are various pain management strategies that can be used for migraine sufferers, including drug therapy (both preventative and immediate relief options), alternative therapies such as massage therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic, among others. Additionally, learning ways to cope with stress as well as diet and lifestyle changes may help to provide some pain relief for migraine sufferers. Sometimes, simple changes can have a significant positive impact on migraine frequency and intensity, improving an individuals’ quality of life dramatically.
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