Migraine: Australia’s Most Underestimated Disability

Many of us is still unaware that migraine is Australia’s number one disability. There is an estimated 6.4 million people in Australia suffering from regular migraines and the number keeps on growing every year, and it has the total economic cost of AUD $40 Billion. It’s the third most debilitating medical condition in the world according to the World Health Organisation.[1]

Nevertheless, migraine is generally considered as ‘just a headache’ and have affected the quality of life of the sufferers. Migraine sufferers are forced to suffer in silence. It can lead to nausea, loss of speech and even temporary blindness.

Migraine is seen as an ‘invisible sickness’ and it causes a stigma in the workplace. Many sufferers feel as if they are unable to have a professional life due to the impact migraine has on their productivity and self-confidence. Due to the lack of understanding, sufferers are pressured to ‘pop a pill and move on’ to keep up with work demands, social life and home life. It is common for sufferers to also feel the psychological repercussions of migraine such as depression and suicidal thoughts.

While prescription medicines such as sumatriptan, ergotamine and metoclopramide may provide sufferers with temporary relief, there is also a concern over medication overuse which may lead to more headaches.[2] Migraine treatment can be a ‘Catch 22’ to some sufferers, especially because up until now there are still no cure for migraine, only medication for temporary relief are available.

Prof. Tissa Wijeratne have developed a course for healthcare practitioners to learn new treatments and provide them with the latest clinical advancement to treat patients suffering from migraines. As the Chair of the Global Policy and Advocacy Committee for the World Federation of Neurology, Prof Wijeratne believes educating primary healthcare physicians in the latest evidence-based therapies for migraine management represents the best solution to meet this patient need.

The course is titled Migraine Management for Practitioners, and it’s available online from the University of Melbourne – Mobile Learning Unit. It consists of 6 self-assessments and 20 case studies which could be completed in approximately 8 hours, all online though any iOS, Android of Windows device.

Migraine Management for Practitioners covers the latest strategies for the diagnosis of headaches, highlights “red flag” symptoms and differential diagnoses, and provides pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for managing patients experiencing headaches. This course is also beneficial for the learners, it is RACGP Accredited Category 1 which will earn 40 CPD points.

This course was created with the hopes that more and more healthcare practitioners will understand the cause of migraines and help keep up with the 6.3 million sufferers in Australia, and provide better methods to manage the pain, with the aim of improving the patient’s quality of life.

“There are more than 43,000 GPs in Australia and we can educate them with a toolkit to recognise and meet the basic needs of many patients who experience migraines,” said Prof. Wijeratne.

Non-sufferers should care about migraine as much as the sufferers do, since the impact of migraine affects far more than just the sufferers themselves, and more should be done and learned.

For more information regarding the Migraine Management for Practitioners course, click the below button to go to the course website or contact the University of Melbourne - Mobile Learning Unit.

Course Information

[1] Deloitte Access Economics, Migraine in Australia Whitepaper, Prepared for Novartis Australia, 2018

[1] Raabus, Carol. ABC Life. Living with migraine means a world of pain, stigma and searching for a cure, 21 Jan 2019

More Information

Mobile Learning Unit



  • Migraine