Managing Your Migraine: Book review

Dr Katy Munro from the National Migraine Centre in the UK published a book in 2021 called Managing Your Migraine. It’s easy to read and informative and should be on the to-read list of every person with migraine.

As those of us with migraine know, migraine disease is a debilitating, neurological condition. It’s not just a headache, and it’s not something a couple of paracetamol and a lie down will fix.

It takes a full migraine toolkit of medications, lifestyle strategies, diet, exercise, supplements and so much more to manage migraine disease. And despite numerous claims that migraine can be ‘cured’ through specific diets, manipulation techniques and just ‘looking after yourself’, migraine doesn’t have a cure. Yes, it can be managed well to limit the impact on your life, but migraine disease is just that – a disease – with genetics a lot to answer for.

Dr Munro knows this. In the introduction to her book Managing Your Migraine, she lays out some confronting facts that so many people who don’t have migraine (or even often people who do have migraine) have no comprehension of, including:

  • Worldwide, 1 in 7 people live with migraine.
  • The Global Burden of Disease ranks migraine as the second-highest cause of disability in the world.
  • In 2018 in the UK, 86 million workdays are lost annually due to migraine-related absenteeism and presenteeism.
  • Many doctors lack training in migraine diagnosis and treatment.

It’s this final point that highlights how important it is for people with migraine to be their own advocate, and why Dr Munro’s book is so important for people with migraine to read.

Managing Your Migraine covers the whole spectrum of migraine management. It includes chapters on migraine symptoms, migraine phases (prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome), diet, exercise, sleep, mental health, acute medications, preventive medications and hormones.

Also included are topics such as children with migraine, working with migraine, migraine variants such as vestibular migraine, hemiplegic migraine and retinal migraine. There’s also a short discussion about headache variants, including cluster headache.

Managing Your Migraine has taken all the most important information about migraine and presented it in this well thought out, logical book that encompasses the full spectrum of migraine management. Like a migraine bible. Within its 224 pages, Dr Munro clearly articulates how to attack migraine from every angle. She covers the basics, which is helpful for people new to migraine, but is also helpful for veterans of migraine disease like myself. She discusses the importance of posture, maintaining blood sugar levels, elimination diets, supplements, stress, mindfulness and meditation, migraine during pregnancy and so much more.

She also provides lists of acute and preventive medication options (although the availability of these medications differs in New Zealand, so we recommend visiting this page for NZ medications) and briefly discusses neuromodulation devices and complementary therapies.

There are plenty of takeaway messages that people with migraine can use in everyday life, and strategies to help minimise the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

And most importantly, the book offers hope. Hope that there are new strategies to try. Hope that new medications will make a difference. Hope for people with chronic migraine. Hope for people with episodic migraine. Hope for children with migraine. Hope for a world where migraine causes far less disability than it currently does.

If you have migraine, you should read this book. If you know someone with migraine, you should read this book, or give it to them as a gift.

Book details

  • Published: 26 August 2021
  • Publisher: Penguin Life (Part of the Penguin Life Expert series)
  • ISBN: 9780241514283

About the Author bio from Managing Your Migraine

“Dr. Katy Munro worked as a GP in the NHS for about 30 years. During this time, she became a person with migraine, which made her passionate about helping others with this condition.

She became a headache specialist GP at the National Migraine Centre, a charity providing people with migraine access to high-quality care. She is also a member of the Council of the British Association for the Study of Headaches.

Dr Munro was instrumental in starting the Heads Up podcast, which she co-hosts to educate and give advice to anyone with, or caring for, a person with migraine. She is also a spokesperson on migraine, having been interviewed on the BBC, ITV and by numerous journalists. She has been a guest on podcasts including the Liz Earle Wellbeing Show and The Doctor’s Kitchen podcast.”

Adapted from this blog post from Migraine Down Under, written by Sarah Cahill, Migraine Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand co-founder and Migraine Down Under author.