A woman who has suffered with a chronic migraine for 14 years says "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy".
Lauren Murray had her first severe headache when she was 13 – only for it to never go away.
She now suffers constant pain every day – with several days a month where the pain is unbearable.
Lauren, 26, manages to go to work but says she missed lots of social occasions growing up and struggled to visit one friend who had a telegraph pole outside her house because it triggered her bad heads.
A migraine is the most common and disabling neurological condition in the UK, affecting one in seven Brits, or around nine million people.
It is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.
Just 2% of sufferers endure the chronic form on 15 or more days a month and even fewer have it permanently.
Lauren, of Guildford, Surrey, explained: "My mum had always suffered with migraine and before I was born, my dad had one that lasted for six months.
"I guess I'm unlucky in that I clearly have it on both sides of my family.
"Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and think 'Why me?' but why does anyone suffer from anything? It's just one of those things.
"You have to adapt your life."
Lauren had to take several weeks off school when her migraine first started.
When it failed to go away, her mum took her to the family GP. She saw neurologists and was then given a cat scan, which came back clear.
She also had an occipital nerve block – a painful injection into the nerves which supply the scalp – before her GCSEs to help her cope.
But as far as tests go, doctors cannot pinpoint anything wrong with her.
She simply has a diagnosis of continual chronic migraine.
Medication has also failed to make any difference to her condition, with some common migraine drugs even making her symptoms worse.
She now manages to work as a dog groomer and says she copes with her condition by having an understanding employer and a great partner, Hannah Grist, 28.
Other coping strategies include listening to classical music, turning lights off and avoiding harsh lights and strong smells.
Her headaches can also be triggered by not drinking enough water and not eating enough.
She says GPs should be more alert to her form of the condition.
She said: "It took four years to diagnose and no-one really knew what it was.
"It feels just like a normal migraine, but the intensity of the headache changes.
"My mum was quite good with it when I was younger and really pushed the doctors to figure out what was going on.
"People ask how I cope but it's very much one of those things.
"You either let it take over your life or you choose to stand above it and keep trying to fight through it."
Lauren says her chronic migraine meant she missed a lot of social occasions growing up and made it hard for her to socialise.
She also had to give up swimming and diving professionally.
As well as that, Lauren avoids garlic and onions, which almost always ramp up the pain.
Alcohol, caffeine and high sugar foods are also no nos.
She says one of the things that gets her through the pain is having a career she loves.
She has been grooming dogs from the age of 13 and says her employer is amazing.
Her dog Oscar also gives her a reason to get up in the morning.
She went on: "Getting up and going to a job I love really helps.
"I have a dog at home too and he gets me up if I'm having a bad day. It's a lifesaver.
"I'm a very determined person. When my migraine first started I took two weeks off school and from then on I've only had one day off.
"It was very difficult when it first started because a lot of doctors didn't believe me.
"Doctors would ask my mum if they thought I was trying to get attention. That was very difficult to deal with.
"I won't let it stop me learning or being the best me, but neither would I wish it on my worst enemy."
Una Farrell, of the Migraine Trust, said sufferers should go back to their doctors if they cannot get any relief.
She added: "Chronic migraine is a complex neurological condition and it must be having a huge impact on her life.
"It is very rare, but it can be treated."
Source: Read Full Article