Neurologists see increase in stress-induced migraines amid pandemic

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 18:47:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, neurologists at Saint Luke's Hospital are seeing an increase in patients with stress and anxiety-induced migraines.

Dr. Sarah Gibbons, a neurologist at Saint Luke's Hospital, said she's been seeing more migraine patients during the pandemic. She said it's important to keep in mind migraines thrive with inconsistency.

"Not sleeping regularly, increased stressors, missing meals, not eating regularly," Gibbons said.

Gibbons said someone should seek help if their migraines are affecting their work, family or social life or their quality of life in general.

"Patients need to come get treated for their migraines because we can help," Gibbons said.

Kansas City native Nichole Lipari said she has suffered from stress-induced migraines since she was 9 years old.

As an adult, Lipari suffered up to 12 migraines a month, sometimes lasting for days at a time and have caused her to miss out on work, family and life events.

Lipari visited multiple specialists and looked for a treatment that didn't cause significant side effects for years.

"I just kind of accepted that this was going to be my lifestyle," Lipari said.

Lipari said her quality of life changed drastically after she started seeing Gibbons, who recommended she use a monthly injection called Aimovig.

"Within the first 30 to 45 days I couldn't believe the less frequent amount of migraines," Lipari said. "The ones that I did encounter didn't last for hours or days but thirty minutes."

Lipari said she feels that she finally has her life back and can look forward to spending time with family and friends without worrying about her migraines holding her back.

"It's been life-changing for me, I couldn't be more excited," Lipari said.

Lipari said the timing of her medical success couldn't be better considering living through a pandemic can cause added stress and anxiety.

Lipari said she wants to encourage others to keep looking for the right treatment even if it doesn't happen right away.

"If it's working for me, there's something that's going to work for everybody so don't give up hope," Lipari said.