A MIGRAINE sufferer today spoke of her struggle with the condition for almost two decades – as it is revealed that more than 40,000 Wearsiders who endure the painful attacks will be able to access new support.
Experts estimate the nearly 1,000 people a day in Sunderland will experience a painful migraine, with many having to leave work and go home to recover from the ordeal.
A new campaign, Migraine Unlocked, is being launched in the city today to increase understanding the impact that headaches and migraine have, as well as providing help to those affected.
Sunderland Royal Hospital worker Siobhan Dodds, of Hendon, has sufferered from chronic migraines since she was 16.
The pain has meant she has had to go home ill from work and found herself vomitting because of the nausea.
“I’ve had to live with it for so long and it’s awful,” said Siobhan, now 32.
“I’ve been known to make beds for myself on the bathroom floor so that I can be near the toilet to be sick. When I first had a migraine I was in hospital for four days because the doctors initially thought I might have had a bleed on the brain.”
Despite trying a number of different treatments over the years, including acupuncture, Siobhan says she is now seeing positive results after receving Botox injections.
“I’ve had four or five different kinds of tablets, but the migraines always just end up coming back,” added Siobhan, who works as a technologist in medical physics at the Royal.
“As someone in my 30s, it really affects my social life. It makes me wary of going out because I can’t commit to things.
“Alcohol is one of my trigger points, so I have to think whether it is worth risking going to the pub for a night if I’m going to spend the rest of the weekend suffering.”
However, Siobhan is hopeful that her condition is being managed better since beginning the Botox treatment.
“Since Christmas, I’ve been able to go out a lot more often. I just hope things continue like they have been,” she said
Dr Gina Kennedy, consultant neurologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said: “Some of my patients are unable to perform simple every-day activities, like caring for their children, going to work, or going out socially.
“After getting their migraines under control, I have had patients now say that they feel that they ‘can be a mother to their children again’, ‘my life has been on hold until now, I feel like a different person’, and ‘my partner, friends and family have noticed the difference in me for the better’.
“Anyone living with frequent migraine and headaches should go and see their doctor as there may be more treatment options available that haven’t been considered.”
For more details on migraines and headaches, go to www.migraineunlocked.co.uk.