Anyone who has suffered a migraine knows all too well the excruciating pain and debilitating side effects of the condition.

But for those fortunate enough to have never felt one, it can be hard to understand just how bad it can be.

To help shed some light on what's it's like, painkiller brand Excedrin has developed the world's first migraine simulator, and it's helping non-sufferers to have more empathy for those struck down by the painful episodes.

In a video of people using the simulator, friends and family of migraine sufferers are seen donning the virtual reality headset, then attempting to navigate the world while enduring the symptoms.


"I've got to stop," one man said after being overwhelmed by the experience. He later told his migraine-afflicted girlfriend, "I'm sorry that I ever doubted you."

"Oh my God. I don't even know how you function," one woman told her best friend.

For Excedrin's experiment, only a few migraine symptoms were replicated: auras, disorientation, extremely bright lights, floating spots and tunnel vision, not the extreme pain.

The company said that it developed the machine in the hope that it would help demystify a condition that was widely misunderstood.

"Those who don't experience the condition can't fully understand it, Excedrin's website said. "That's why [we] created the world's first migraine simulator ... This technological innovation makes it possible for non-sufferers to see what a migraine is really like."

Migraines manifest differently in different people. While they often involve severe pain, other symptoms can include sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, dizziness, and visual disturbances such as flashing lights and zig-zag lines.

According to the NY Daily News, "The Migraine Experience" will be available for download as an app in May. The simulation can be experienced using Google Cardboard.