Migraines 101: The “Dark, Quiet Room” Fallacy
Those of you who get migraines have no doubt heard the (same, stupid) advice (over and over) that the best thing to do for a migraine is to lie down in a dark, quiet room.
I want to make sure that those of you who do NOT have migraines understand that the dark, quiet room is not a treatment for migraine. It is, at best, an accommodation. The dark, quiet room does minimize sensory input such as noise, light, and small children. But aside from limiting harm, it does exactly zero. Once you’re in the dark, quiet room, you realize, “OK — I’m now lying down in a dark, quiet room… in excruciating, dehumanizing pain. Isn’t something else supposed to happen?”
And there you lie. Aaaaaaaaall freakIn’ day. If you’re lucky, you may be able to sleep a bit, but that could backfire if the headache doesn’t go away by bedtime, because then you will be lying awake in your dark, quiet room in excruciating, dehumanizing pain aaaaaaaaaall night now, too.
In short, telling a migraineur/euse to lie down in a dark, quiet room is about equivalent to telling someone with a broken leg to sit down.
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