Migraines are the number one cause of disability in Australia. Now the country’s peak bodies are banding together to form Steps4migraine in a hope to bring about change.
Coinciding with World Migraine Day on Sunday 18 June, Steps4migraine will see a procession of 1,150 Victorians walking from Parliament Gardens to Victoria Square (opposite Queen Victoria Market), clocking up 5 million steps to symbolise the number of Aussies who suffer this debilitating neurological disease.
Senior neurologist, Migraine Foundation Australia Chair and migraine sufferer, Professor Tissa Wijeratne, said the facts around migraine are startling and require urgent action.
“Much of the community is oblivious to the huge physical, social and economic toll of migraine. This morning, more than 250,000 Australians are experiencing migraine pain, rendering them unable to function properly,” he said.
“This crippling condition costs the nation more than $40 billion a year which takes into account the costs to the health system plus lost productivity, yet there’s a distinct lack of empathy and urgency in stopping the physical, emotional, social and economic impact of the condition.
“Our national medical research funder, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) which falls under the Department of Health, allocates very little money towards migraine research. In fact, between 2007 and 2017, the Council directed only 0.09% of its total budget to migraine research.
“As well as affecting one-in-four Aussie households, we know that migraine is strongly linked to mental health issues, with international research finding that depression affects almost 80% of migraine sufferers at one time or another.
“There is currently no cure for migraine – only means of managing symptoms and reducing frequency which can make sufferers feel helpless and hopeless – so more funding for research is desperately needed to ‘crack the code’.”
Steps4migraine participants are raising money through a 5 million step challenge and there’s still time to get involved via #Steps4migraine and steps4migraine.com. The funds raised will go towards education, service delivery and research in this field. Providing access for patients hindered by location or finances is also a key priority.
Professor Wijeratne says migraine continues to be the most neglected, worst managed and least respected medical disorder.
“Community engagement and raising awareness is the key to changing this, which is where the Steps4migraine campaign can make a huge difference along with more adequate government funding and focus.
“There is very little teaching on this topic in our medical schools and neurology specialist training programs. We desperately need research, education and better support to end this misery forever.
“Providing patients with appropriate, evidence-based care would dramatically move the needle on the global burden of migraine. There is a need for improved standards of care so that all can access safe treatment regardless of financial situation, gender, culture or location.”
WHAT: Steps4migraine advocacy and fundraising walk – clocking up 5 million steps representing the 5 million Aussies who suffer migraine
WHEN: Sunday 18 June
11.30am ahead of the walk’s commencement at 12 midday
WHERE: Parliament Gardens, Corner of Spring and Albert Street, Melbourne – the starting point for the walk
WHO: Senior neurologist and Migraine Foundation Australia Chair Professor Tissa Wijeratne
Chronic migraine sufferers Mrs Stav Sasso and Mrs Kate Kenfield
To find out more about the event or migraines visit:
· The number one cause of disability in Australia is migraine.
· $40 billion – cost of migraine to Australia per year.
· Five million Australians suffer from migraine.
· 1 billion people worldwide suffer from migraine.
· Migraine is more than just a headache – it’s a chronic neurological disease.
About migraines – more than just a headache
Migraine is a disabling neurological disease. This complex brain disorder is not just a headache. Migraine has five phases from prodrome, aura, acute attack phase, postdrome and interictal phase. Its cause is genetic – triggers, lifestyle and environmental factors play a role too.
Chronic migraine can last for months to years at times. Professor Tissa Wijeratne has seen patients who’ve had no headache-free days for well over 30 years.
Acute attack of migraine is characterised by severe head pain, cognitive impairment, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vertigo, and sensitivity to light, sound and touch. It is also highly associated with long COVID, stroke, heart disease, epilepsy, depression, and chronic pain. Early diagnosis and access to effective treatment are vital to helping patients find relief and improve their quality of life.
Chriss Mannix, Soda Communications, 0418 408 035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Strahan, Soda Communications, 0417 361 465, email@example.com