Migraine Headache

Good Side Effects Of Migraine


Migraine pain is something that anyone who has ever experienced it wouldn’t wish on anybody else except her worst enemy. And yet, one can argue that that very same migraine pain has been the genesis of some truly amazing feats of artistic accomplishment. The conventional wisdom is that only great suffering spurs great art. In the case of art created by migraine sufferers, that conventional wisdom may be very wise indeed.

Painters especially have been very effective in taking their pain and translating into great art. The visual disturbances associated with migraine aura lends itself to artistic expression in a wide variety of disciplines, from watercolors to oils and from surrealism to expressionism. The first pictorial evidence of migraine aura symptoms may very well be reflected in the drawings of a medieval mystic known as Hildegard of Bilgen. Hildegard not only translated her visions into art, but also wrote extensively about the disease.

Surrealism especially seems to have been an outlet for painters suffering the effects of migraines. The surrealist painter Georgia de Chirico is on record as having been a migraine sufferer. Salvador Dali is also suspected of having created much of his bizarre images out of visual hallucinations associated with migraine aura.

There are various webs site devoted to what is known as “migraine art” and there have even been migraine art exhibitions. In fact, there have been migraine art competitions in which paintings were judged based on how well the painters translated the following the guidelines from inside their head onto the canvas. They had to successfully paint their own singular impressions of any form of visual disturbance which heralds a classical migraine attack, the pain associated with a migraine attack, as well as the effect that migraine headaches has had on their lives.

If you’re looking for art that may have been inspired by migraines, be sure to check out the following artists:

Georgia O’Keefe

William Blake

Vincent Van Gogh

Peggy Hoffman

Neel Kar

Angela Butt

Gill Knox

Sofia Greene

Molly Barr

Mark Fitzgerald

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books are well-known examples of literature inspired by migraines, and probably the most famous. But they are hardly the only books written by migraine suffferers.

Joan Didion’s essay “In Bed” is an achingly honest—no pun intended—account of her battle with migraines. Anyone who has ever suffered through the misery of migraines can commiserate with Didion. It’s probably one of the most honest and sincere works of literature about any kind of debilitating ailment ever written.

Karla J. Dorman’s poem “Lady of the Lights” is a fantastic recreation of the bizarre visual disturbances associated with migraine aura. All of those who have seen flashing lights, shooting stars and zigzagging lines dance before their eyes during the throes of a migraine only to be told that there is no such things as a migraine and it’s all in their head will appreciate this honest representation of what Dorman describes as a circus.

H.G. Wells’ “The Remarkable Case of Davidson’s Eyes” is often thought to have been inspired by migraines.

And then there’s music. Generally, music isn’t terribly conducive to migraines. After all, sensitivity to noise is a hallmark of migraines and one of its triggers. Of course, one doesn’t necessarily have to create music during the midst of a migraine episode. The memory lingers on, as they say. Several really big names in music suffered from migraine headaches, including Gustav Mahler and Elvis Presley. Jeff Tweedy of the group Wilco is well known-documented migraine sufferer who has expressed his pain through music. In addition, some specific music and songs owe their genesis at least in part to migraines.

“Migraine” from the album Abrasive by Puddle of Mudd

“Migraine” from the album Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker by The Coral

“Migraine” from the album Broken Airplanes by Troubled Hubble

“Migraine” from the album Sleep No More by DJ Signify

“Migraine Induced Madness” by Brad Preston. This one was allegedly written by Preston while in the midst of a migraine episode.