National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM) is observed in June. The campaign is observed to honor and recognize the headache and migraine communities that are continuously working together for headache disorders. It aims to enlighten individuals about various headache disorders and encourages them to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment modalities available. Occurring due to specific changes in the brain and surrounding blood vessels, migraine headaches can cause severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels get activated and send pain signals to the brain. The pain attacks can last typically from hours to days, and the severity of pain can interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities. The right combination of medications along with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes may help reduce the symptoms to a great extent. Neurologists or migraine specialists offering treatment for this condition can utilize medical coding service from a professional provider for accurate claim submissions.

Sponsored by the National Headache Foundation (NHF), the month long campaign is designated to educate the public, raise awareness, and encourage leaders to provide more funding for research into this complex and debilitating disease. Recognized as the second cause of disability worldwide, migraine impacts about 40 million people in the United States and about 1 billion people across the world. Currently, about 16 million people with migraine in the U.S. remain undiagnosed. It is estimated that 400,000 Americans experience cluster headaches, recognized as one of the most painful diseases a person can have. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 4 households includes someone with migraine diseases.

Migraine and headache fall into several categories depending on the symptoms. The most common types include – cluster headache, tension headache and migraine headache. Beginning in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, the condition progresses through four different stages like – pro-drome, aura, attack and post-drome. However, not everyone who experiences migraine goes through all these stages. Common symptoms include – severe pain on one side of the head, red or watery eyes, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances, pain or irritation behind the eye, swollen eyelids, loss of appetite and feeling very warm (sweating) or cold (chills). Several factors like genetics, hormonal changes in women, environmental factors, sleep changes, sensory stimuli, stress, physical factors and use of certain medications can trigger the occurrence of this condition.

The 2021 campaign aims to spread the word and legitimize the harsh truth about these neurological conditions. It provides the perfect opportunity to work on behalf of a migraine or headache organization and link up with others who share some of the same hardships. Generally, the condition is diagnosed by performing a physical and neurological examination and a previous medical history review. Diagnostic tests such as CT scan and MRI scan will be performed to identify the causes of pain and other related symptoms. Treatment modalities for this condition depends on how frequently the headaches occur, the type of medicines prescribed to prevent triggers and attacks and pain relief. Common treatment options include pain-relieving medications (like over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), triptans, dihydroergotamines, narcotic opioids and anti-nausea drugs) and preventive medications (like antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, botox injections and blood pressure-lowering medications). Incorporating other lifestyle remedies like – trying relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, maintaining a headache diary, drinking plenty of fluids and maintaining a complete sleeping and eating schedule can help prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition in a better manner. Neurologists or migraine specialists treating migraine patients must document the diagnosis and other treatment modalities using the right medical codes. Billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing and coding companies help physicians use the correct codes for their billing purposes. ICD-10 codes for migraine and headaches include –

  • G43 – Migraine
  • G43.0 – Migraine without aura
  • G43.1 – Migraine with aura
  • G43.4 – Hemiplegic migraine
  • G43.5 – Persistent migraine aura without cerebral infarction
  • G43.6 – Persistent migraine aura with cerebral infarction
  • G43.7 – Chronic migraine without aura
  • G43.A – Cyclical vomiting
  • G43.B – Ophthalmoplegic migraine
  • G43.C – Periodic headache syndromes in child or adult
  • G43.D – Abdominal migraine
  • G43.8 – Other migraine
  • G43.9 – Migraine, unspecified
  • G44 – Other headache syndromes
  • G44.0 – Cluster headaches and other trigeminal autonomic cephalgias (TAC)
  • G44.1 Vascular headache, not elsewhere classified
  • G44.2 – Tension-type headache
  • G44.3 – Post-traumatic headache
  • G44.4 – Drug-induced headache, not elsewhere classified
  • G44.5 – Complicated headache syndromes
  • G44.8 – Other specified headache syndromes

For the 2021 National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month (MHAM), the following six days will be observed as special recognition days –

  • June 1: Headache at Work
  • June 6: Veterans with Headache Diseases
  • June 7: Remembrance Day
  • June 19: Disparities in Headache Diseases
  • June 20: Headache Diseases and Men (Father’s Day)
  • June 21: Shades for Migraine
  • June 29: Chronic Migraine Awareness

Each observance day represents an important topic being addressed within the migraine and headache community.

The National Headache Foundation (NHF) was first established in 1970. Since then the organization has been a pioneer force in the field of headaches and is known all around the country for its wide network of patient support groups. It was in 1990 that the NHF campaign was initially started as “National Headache Week” dedicated to spreading awareness on migraine disease and headache disorders. In 2011, the week-long observance was renamed / officially changed to Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM). Finally, in 2018 the U.S. Government gave MHAM the recognition of a National Health Observance. The campaign has since then grown into a month-long of activities and action items for patients, physicians, policymakers and communicators to share the latest research, drug breakthroughs, treatments, support activities and ways to better understand and tackle headaches and migraine attacks.

One of the real focuses for this year’s campaign is – understanding the effects of COVID-19 on migraine and headache illnesses. A recent survey by the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum and Migraine Again determined that “78 percent of migraine patients used telemedicine after the beginning of the pandemic, bringing to light a new era of care. The survey also indicated that COVID-19 has coincided with a 70 percent rise in migraine attacks, with 84 percent experiencing more stress in trying to manage their disease.

Purple is the official color of MHAM campaign. As part of the campaign, a wide range of activities including community walks, volunteer campaigns and fundraising events will be arranged across the country. In addition, people suffering from migraines or any other kind of headaches can share their story and how it is like to live with this neurological disorder via several social media platforms.

Join MHAM observance in June and help educate people about this invisible, often stigmatized disease, which dramatically affects their quality of life.