In the United States, it’s estimated that 39 million individuals suffer from migraine, where there are also over 2.3 million marriages each year. When you consider those statistics together, it makes sense that there would be some overlap of people fighting the migraine battle on what’s supposed to be the best day of their lives — their wedding day.
For brides especially, there seems to be a lot of build-up, planning, and excitement surrounding their wedding day. Sure, everyone who’s planning on tying the knot is excited and likely involved in the planning, but if you’ve ever been a bride, you get it. Your wedding day is a big, big deal. It’s probably the last day you would ever want to be battling a migraine.
And yet, a 2020 study of migraineurs conducted by Axon Optics suggests that 15% of brides with migraine were actually fighting one on their wedding day, making them miserable. Along with the pain of the migraine alone, consider the emotional toll and disappointment of dealing with a migraine attack on a day you’ve been planning for months or years — the most important day of your life.
Photo by Kindel Media
Is a Migraine Really Painful Enough to Ruin Your Wedding Day?
Ask a migraine sufferer, and they’ll tell you how bad the pain can be. But here are some comparatives that non-sufferers might understand. According to the same study, here’s how migraine pain compares to other types of discomfort:
- 24% say a migraine is more painful than pinching a finger in a door
- 21% say a migraine is more painful than a cavity
- 17% say a migraine is more painful than a sprained ankle
- 15% say a migraine is more painful than getting kicked in the groin
- On average, you would have to step on a lego 140 times to equal the pain of 1 migraine
- 53% of people with migraine say they have struggled to safely operate a car during a migraine episode
- 23% of people with migraine would rather get COVID-19 than get a severe migraine
- 50% of people with migraine would rather get punched in the face than get a severe migraine
So yes, a migraine could be painful enough to wreak havoc on your wedding day. A quick Google search for “brides and migraine” reveals plenty of results, including articles and Q&A threads like this one on Reddit with brides concerned they’ll be fighting this battle on the day they wed.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes…Migraine?
The same migraineur study uncovered some of the ways migraine can affect not just the wedding day, but marriages themselves. 1 in 4 migraine sufferers say their headaches have put a strain on their marriage, and 47% of migraineurs say that migraine diminishes their quality of life. Consider how a lower quality of life could affect relationships and family.
Unless your spouse or fiance also has migraine, there’s a pretty good chance they don’t understand what you’re going through, no matter how they try. They may be as supportive as the day is long (if so, you chose wisely!), but the Axon Optics study revealed that:
- 80% believe people with migraine would fake one to get out of going to work
- 30% say a migraine attack would be faked to avoid household chores
- 25% say a migraine sufferer would feign a migraine as an excuse for not having sex
Consider all these statistics together, and you have a big challenge that affects not only the migraine sufferer themselves but also the people who love them most.
Worried About a Wedding Day Migraine?
Aside from educating your kids and partner about what you’re really dealing with, there are some coping strategies that could help bolster your relationships in the face of migraine. Here are a few ideas.
Know Your Triggers
Most people with migraine have a pretty good idea of the things that trigger their headaches. If you don’t already, start keeping a migraine journal to help you recognize trigger patterns, so you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding them leading up to your big day.
Migraines can come on unexpectedly, but knowing and avoiding your triggers can help you gain an advantage.:
- For women, certain points in the menstrual cycle may increase the likelihood of a migraine. Keep an eye on that calendar and schedule your wedding day accordingly.
- Avoid foods that tend to trigger migraines for you in the days and weeks leading up to your wedding.
Explore the Role Light May Play
90% of people who suffer from migraine disease also report light sensitivity, or photophobia. If you get migraines, this is why you’ve probably suffered the effects of light and sound during a migraine attack. Many migraine sufferers have actually found light to be more than an additional pain during an attack, but an actual migraine trigger. In particular, the blue-green light which emanates from screens like computers and phones is known to be a problem for many. So leading up to your wedding day, try cutting back on-screen exposure.
Along with curbing screen time, look into therapeutic lenses. These lenses are specifically designed to be used indoors, and block just the wavelengths of light most likely to trigger migraines. This eyewear has been shown to be effective by thousands of users and validated in a HIT-6 headache impact survey.
As you approach your wedding, avoiding triggers and harmful types of light could help you reduce the likelihood of having a migraine attack on your big day. Be sure to let your fiance support you in these efforts, and put a contingency plan in place, in the event a migraine does threaten to sour your plans.