If you have migraines, you have likely experienced the impact it can have on all aspects of your life. Now a new study is looking at the heavy burden that those migraines can place on your family life.

The good news is that you don’t have to live with this burden. If your current migraine treatments aren’t working, you might benefit from TMJ treatment, which may reduce the frequency and/or severity of your migraines.

frustrated patient and child doing homework

A Web-Based Study Draws Millions of Responses

The current results come from a large, online study known as CaMEO (Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes). Utilizing the web allowed researchers to obtain a very large sample size, 2.4 million respondents. Of this initial pool, researchers limited the invitations to just about 20,000 individuals to answer questions on the family burden module (FBM), designed to determine just how much of an impact migraines had on people’s family lives. The respondents included more than 4000 migraineur-spouse dyads, of which about 2300 had children.

For the purposes of grading the impact of different levels of migraines, researchers divided respondents into four categories:

  • Low-frequency episodic migraine: 1-4 migraine days/month
  • Moderate-frequency episodic migraine: 5-9 migraine days/month
  • High-frequency episodic migraine: 10-14 migraine days/month
  • Chronic migraine: 15+ migraine days/month

These categories allowed for a greater understanding of the differences in migraine severity and impact, increasing the sensitivity over the usual episodic/chronic migraine distinction.

Gauging the Level of Impact

The FBM included 24 questions focusing on six different ways migraines can impact family life, including:

  • Less participation in or enjoyment of family activities
  • Canceling events or missing events
  • Altered interaction with spouse
  • Impact on family finances
  • How parent-child interactions impact the child
  • How parent-child interactions impact the migraineur

In all six categories of experience, impact was related to the level of migraines, but all experienced some level of impact. For example, even 48% of people with low-frequency episodic migraine had reduced participation in at least one family event a month. Migraines can have the most dramatic impact on the relationship between the migraineur and spouse, with 57% reporting that enjoyment of time with spouse was reduced, and 51% reporting that spouse had to take over housework for a migraineur, which lead to tension in about a quarter of couples where one had chronic migraines. And spouses often didn’t believe about the severity of the migraines. With low-frequency episodic migraines, about 24% said their spouse didn’t believe them, and 44% of those with chronic migraines said their spouse didn’t believe them.

Interactions with children are also impacted. About 30% of those with low-frequency episodic migraines felt they would be better parents without migraines, while 72% of those with chronic migraines felt that they could do better if they didn’t have migraines.

Migraines also made people worry about their family’s future. About a third of all migraineurs said that their headaches made them worry about being able to provide for their family in the future, with many being concerned about losing their jobs, especially those with chronic migraines.

A Reduced Burden Could Help a Lot

TMJ treatment is rarely a cure to migraines, but it can often reduce the frequency and/or severity of migraines. Not all migraine sufferers benefit from TMJ treatment, but many do. This study also shows how much that could help, because it shows how much the impact on the family is related to the frequency of headaches. Dropping from ten headache days a month to five, for example, is correlated with a 32% reduction in being unable to participate in or enjoy an important celebration or event in the past year.

If you are looking for an alternative to your current migraine treatment in River Edge, we can help. Please call (201) 343-4044 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at the River Edge Dental, New Jersey’s center for TMJ, sleep apnea, & reconstructive dentistry.