Framing migraine in digital discourse


According to the WHO (, headache is an underestimated, under-treated and under-recognized disease throughout the world, despite the fact that half of the adult world population experiences at least one headache per year. Headache is one of the painful features of primary headache disorders, which include migraine, tension headache and clusters. Amongst migraines, “migraine with aura” occurs in 2% of migraineur population. To illustrate a “migraine with aura”, the migraine textbook Headache in Clinical Practice shows a photo of the walled city of Palmanova, Italy. Such a neurological disorder, literally represented as a fortress, frames patients’ descriptions of the zigzag lightning they perceive (but do not see) before a migraine attack. If clinical practitioners reframe “migraine with aura” as a fortress – with the war metaphor implications it carries – how do patients frame migraine with aura when they speak freely about it on social media? By combining quantitative and qualitative approaches to investigation, this paper will assess in what way the process of information is affected by issues of frame inclusion and exclusion in textual construction. This can help to understand the discourse about migraine, so as to improve professional tools for migraine detection and evaluation.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v53p283

Keywords: framing; medical discourse; metaphor; corpus linguistics; digital communication


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