Men and Migraine – the Coach Told Him to Man Up

Ian Sager shares his experiences with migraine on

Image by filterssofly from Pixabay

“Be a man!”


Lightning flashes across my eyes and my vision blurs. “Man up! Get back on the field!”


There’s a noticeable change in my body, and my cognitive abilities begin to slow.


The voice barks again, this time bestowing me with a four-letter name no mother would give her child.


The migraine is coming, there’s no doubt about it. It’s time to go. He can scream all he wants.


I saunter off the soccer field, desperately searching for my medicine.


The characters in this drama (and their propensity to speak like sailors) are unique, but the action will be familiar to the 36 million American men, women and children who suffer from migraines: When the storm comes, you batten down the hatches.


But illnesses do not operate in a vacuum, and because migraines impact roughly two to three times more women than men, I’ve found myself fighting on two fronts: against the agony itself, as well as those who cannot fathom a man not pushing through the pain of an illness that predominantly afflicts women. New research touches on the stigma migraine patients face, especially men who are more likely than women to miss an important event or report stress in their relationships.


I’ve always laughed off the second concern. I’ve never felt any shame or trepidation. How could I? The fear of the next storm leaves little room for that.


As Ian Sager’s story illustrates, men with migraine suffer a stigma not only for their condition, but also because they are expected to “tough it out”.   Read the full story on

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