Is it Just Another Headache… Or Something More Serious? {Interview}

Chronic Migraine Can Put You on the Sidelines – What You Need to Know About This Debilitating Neurological Condition

Many people get headaches from time to time, whether it’s a tension headache, cluster headache, or the most disabling of all, the migraine.  Migraines start as a dull ache that progresses to a throbbing pain that can be felt in the temples, and one or both sides of the front or back of the head. You may experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.[i]

While some people only get the occasional migraine, many others live with a debilitating neurological condition called Chronic Migraine.

A few fast facts about Chronic Migraine:

  • 3.2 million Americans affected[ii][iii]
  • People living with Chronic Migraine experience 15 or more headache days per month with headaches lasting four hours or more, and at least 8 of these days are associated with migraine[iv]
  • Only 20% of people with Chronic Migraine are properly diagnosed (n=520)[v]

Beyond the statistics, Chronic Migraine can affect everyday life. It can be a struggle to do simple things like hang out with friends or go on vacation. Invisible symptoms can lead to cancelled plans, which can be difficult for friends and family to understand. Finding a treatment plan for disruptive headache days starts with a conversation with your doctor—but it may be hard to know where to start, or what information to share.

Join me in a recent interview with neurologist Dr. Jessica Ailani, Director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center, to learn about the difference between headaches and migraines, discuss tips for talking to your doctor, and learn about treatment options that can help people spend less time incapacitated by Chronic Migraine.

Check out the entire interview here:

For more information, go to


Jessica Ailani, MD

Jessica Ailani, MD, is board certified in neurology, with added certifications in neurology and headache. Dr. Ailani is associate professor of neurology at MedStar’s Georgetown University Hospital and director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center. The conditions she treats include migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, post-traumatic headaches, occipital neuralgia, headache related to neck strain and concussion-related headaches. She uses a wide variety of treatment options in headache management including Botox for migraines. Dr. Ailani’s research involves a national project focused on interventions, including nerve blocks, for headaches. She is dedicated to patient education, and recently gave a presentation on “Migraine Management: Practical Tips for an Impractical Disease” for a local family clinic.


Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(suppl 1):9-160.

[ii] Natoli JL, Manack A, Dean B, et al. Global prevalence of chronic migraine: a systematic review. Cephalalgia. 2009. May;30(5):599-609.

[iii] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Census projections request. CDC WONDER website. Available at: lation-projections.html. Accessed July 17, 2012.

[iv] Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 3rd edition. Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629–808.

[v] Bigal, et al Chronic migraine in the population. Burden, diagnosis, and satisfaction with treatment. Neurology. 2008 Aug 19;71(8):559-66.

This interview is sponsored by Allergan







Cynthia Tait

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