Experience What It’s Really Like To Have A Migraine Through Virtual Reality

Chances are, we all know someone who suffers from migraines—the WORST headaches ever—or we get them ourselves. And if so, we wouldn’t wish them on anybody.

All we want to do is find a dark room to lie down in, in hopes of easing the unending pain and throbbing in our heads. Before we get to our dark room, any type of light bothers us and is excruciating—sometimes, we see flashes of light or blind spots, too. And some of us even get nausea or vomit. Fun.


Migraines interfere with work, with people’s social lives, emotional health and relationships,” said Dr. Elizabeth Seng, a New York-based psychologist. “Unfortunately, migraines are largely misunderstood, often leaving sufferers feeling isolated and stigmatized.”

I’m among the 40 million migraine sufferers in the U.S. I get migraines frequently and try to explain them to my non-migraine-getting friends and boyfriend.

Now, they can experience what it’s like… all through virtual reality. Excedrin, the painkiller dubbed “The Headache Expert,” is behind “The Migraine Experience.”


You can see a bunch of people’s stories and videos here, wherein non-migraine sufferers “get a migraine,” so to speak, through virtual reality and finally understand how bad they actually are—well, the what-and-how-they-make-us-see part, at least. The pain, they have to imagine for themselves.


“This technological innovation makes it possible for non-sufferers to see what a migraine is really like for the first time,” states Excedrin’s website. “Because every migraine is personal, Excedrin® collaborated with each sufferer to mirror exactly what she usually goes through. A virtual reality specialist programmed the simulator to replicate each sufferer’s individual migraine symptoms, whether they were sensitivity to light or aura (or both).”

Fascinating, huh?

Excedrin’s website also said, “Across the board, non-sufferers reacted with feelings of shock and surprise (‘I can’t believe you function like that!’), quickly turning to true empathy (‘I’m so sorry you go through this.’ ‘I’ll never doubt you again.’)”… Aww.


And for those of us who couldn’t participate in Excedrin’s migraine experience, you can download it as an app in May. In the meantime, you can check out the video for yourself here.

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