The month of June is officially recognized as “Migraine and Headache Awareness Month”. This is a month pioneered by CHAMP, the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients, dedicated to raising awareness of migraines and headaches, as well as encouraging people to support those dealing with them. Bowtie Kids places a large amount of importance on migraines and headaches as well because we know first hand the amount of suffering that chronic migraines can cause an individual. Chronic migraines are a type of chronic pain that close to 5% of people in the US experience (ClevelandClinic.org). This blog will convey the importance of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Together, we can learn how we can support those dealing with this illness.
Imagine there is a newfound virus that has spread throughout the U.S. over the years. It can result in death, affects people to the point where they cannot perform necessary daily tasks, and has affected 50 million people throughout the country. How long do you think it would take for members of society to concern themselves with the state of the virus and those it affects? This hypothetical virus is chronic pain, which has affected over 50 million people, with 20 million having their daily functions limited by it. COVID-19 has had approximately 26.5 million cases thus far. Chronic pain is an illness that has ravaged the lives of millions of families economically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. With other well documented illnesses taking center stage, such as Breast Cancer, Mental Illnesses, and Heart Disease, effects of chronic pain fly under the radar when it comes to illnesses represented by mainstream media. What flies even further under the radar is the children affected that have to come to terms with this life altering pain.
Chronic pain is a condition where one feels continuous pain anywhere on the body that can last for years, usually due to dysfunctional nerves or is an illness that is particularly cruel to the youth because it can take away things from lives that have not experienced most of what life has to offer yet. In the slightest of cases, it can mean that a child will have to live with a physical discomfort most of the time, likely for the rest of their lives. In a severe case, a child will have to live with a debilitating illness that ties them to a bottle of pills and limits their ability to do even the most basic tasks for the rest of their lives. Chronic pain is a tricky illness to overcome with children, due to the reality that if doctors cannot pinpoint a visible cause for pain, they likely have to take the patient’s word for it and operate from there. John Stork, a doctor in pediatric pain management tells CNN in an interview,
“With Chronic Pain, you often can’t find any specific reason for it. Because the original injury has gone away and yet the patient still has pain. And they say they have pain but you can’t point to anything that’s really causing that pain. In fact a lot of it may be psychologically generated, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still real pain.”