2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report

More than just a headache: 

61.9% of Australians who identify as having migraine feel misunderstood.

‘The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report’ supported by Headache Australiabrings to life the individual struggles experienced by Australians who identify as experiencing migraine.

MEDIA RELEASE – September 2019: Over 4.9 million Australians suffer from migraine or migraine attacks1, however recent research highlights the major misunderstanding of the real physical and emotional impact of migraine on these individuals by the broader population.

The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report’ supported by Headache Australia2 launched today, collating the findings of an independent consumer study of 1,210 adult Australians who do and do not claim to suffer from migraine, commissioned by Nurofen in-line with Headache and Migraine Awareness Week (9-13 September 2019).

The report found almost three-in-ten (28%) Australians who believed they had migraine experience a migraine at least once a week and almost a quarter of migraine attacks last between 6 and 12 hours (23.6%) for respondents. Over half of the 18-50 year olds surveyed (53%) and those who work full time (52%) believe they suffer from migraine – a significant part of the Australian population.

“Migraine is a prevalent condition experienced in a variety of different ways by almost five million Australians. Our research highlights the disconnect between the perceived realities and lived experiences of migraine. The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report aims to reduce this knowledge gap by increasing awareness of the true experience of perceived migraine on Australians,” says Trevor Thompson, CEO of Headache Australia.

Further findings from The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report include:


The research brings to life the frustration reported migraine sufferers have with their condition, with more than three-in-five (61.7%) wishing non-sufferers understood migraines are more than just a headache and almost a quarter (23.2%) of respondents feeling their partner doesn’t understand2.

This discrepancy is highlighted in some of the common beliefs wider Australians have about migraine2:

  • One-in-ten (9.3%) think migraines are fake
  • Over one quarter (25.5%) think it’s the perfect excuse not to show up to work
  • 4% think migraines aren’t as bad as people make them out to be

“There is an obvious discrepancy between the perceived experience of migraine by non-sufferers and how respondents who identify as having migraine actually feel. We know from the research there’s a lack of empathy with only a quarter of those who don’t experience migraine claiming they wish they better understood. What we hope this report illustrates to the Australian public is what those who report living with migraine are really experiencing physically and emotionally,” says Thompson.


While the majority (65%) of those who reported having migraine experience severe headaches, respondents suffer from a wide range of physical symptoms including2:

  • Sensitivity to light (64.3%)
  • Nausea or vomiting (48.6%)
  • Sensitivity to movement (45.3%)
  • Visual disruptions (43.1%)
  • Vertigo or dizziness (36.8%)

The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report also found female respondents were likely to experience more symptoms than men when it came to perceived migraine attacks, including nausea or vomiting (64.9% versus just 27.8%) and blurry or black out vision (40.1% versus 23.5%)2. Professionals in white-collar jobs who reported suffering from migraine experience more symptoms (49%) overall compared with their peers in blue-collar jobs (41%).

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Join the National Headache Register if you experience frequent or debilitating headaches or migraine.

You’ll receive the latest information about new treatments, research and opportunities to participate in Australian research projects and treatment trials.


The research also highlighted the broader impact on the lives and relationships of those who believe they suffer migraine2:

  • Almost three quarters of respondents believe their migraine to have impacted their levels of happiness (73.2%)
  • 5% say their migraine condition has impacted their mental health
  • 9% of reported sufferers believe a migraine has impacted their career prospects
  • 3% of respondents believe their migraine impacts their interpersonal relationships with over half of all reported male sufferers (53.2%) indicating this compared to 39.1% of women.

The physical and emotional impact of migraines is something Australian TV personality, Carlene Duffy, knows all too well: “I’ve experienced headaches and migraine attacks since I was a teenager, with the condition sometimes impacting work, family time, and my social life to varying degrees. Over the years I’ve learnt about how to manage my migraines by observing triggers and practicing self-care, which includes not enduring pain. I take Nurofen at the immediate onset of symptoms before the pain takes hold and for best effect.”

“I’m thrilled to help launch The 2019 Nurofen #MYgraine Report with Headache Australia, and help build awareness of the potential physical and mental impact of migraine on those of us with the condition,” Duffy adds.


Incidence of migraine tends to increase during sufferers’ more active years3, and the Nurofen #MYgraine Report found the most common triggers include2:

  • Stress (48.2%), sleep deprivation (37.8%) and neck pain or stiffness (28.4%) were common triggers of reported migraine across all genders
  • Hormones or menstrual cycles influenced 31% of reported female migraine sufferers
  • Dehydration (23.2%) and staring at a screen for too long (19.1%) were also contributing factors for those who said they had migraine

Ibuprofen, such as Nurofen, is the first-line treatment for the majority (54.2%) of reported migraine sufferers when symptoms begin, ahead of prescription medications from doctors2

This reflects the treatment guidelines supported by Headache Australia, which include NSAIDS such as ibuprofen as a first line therapy recommended for the treatment of an acute migraine attack. According to Thompson: “Those experiencing a migraine attack may benefit from treating at the first signs, before the attack is well-established. Patients may also find some additional relief by resting in a quiet dark room and avoiding personal triggers and activity where possible.” 


This Headache and Migraine Awareness Week (9-13 September), the 4.9 million Australians with migraine1 are encouraged to share their personal lived experiences and join the conversation by using the hashtag: #MYgraine.

Headache Australia Post 1

Join over 12,000 other Australians with frequent or debilitating headaches or migraine on the National Headache Register.

You’ll receive the latest information about new treatments, research and opportunities to participate in Australian research projects and treatment trials.

Headache AustralianMigraine & Headache Australia is the only organization in Australia that aims to support the more than 5 million Australians affected by headache and migraine.