Migraine—more than a headache: women's experiences of living with migraine

Stina Rutberg, Kerstin Öhrling
Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34 (4): 329-36

PURPOSE: In this qualitative study the aim was to explore the meaning of living with migraine.

METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted with ten women about their experience of living with migraine. Halfway through the interview, the women drew a picture of what living with migraine is like, and the interview continued with the conversation being guided by the picture. The interviews were analyzed using a hermeneutic phenomenological method inspired by van Manen.

RESULTS: The analysis revealed an essence "Being obliged to endure a life accompanied by an unpredictable and invisible disorder" and three themes "Being besieged by an attack", "Struggling in a life characterized by uncertainty" and "Living with an invisible disorder."

CONCLUSIONS: Migraine is a debilitating disorder which accompanies life in the sense that it or the threat of its return is always present, and yet invisible to others. The struggle of enduring life with migraine is worsened by the feeling of having an invisible disorder and of being doubted. There is a need to increase the knowledge among healthcare professionals about what it means to live with migraine, something this qualitative study offers.


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