If you get migraine headaches, you already know their debilitating effect. From the throbbing ache and searing pain to nausea and sensitivity to light, migraines can stop you in your tracks and make the simplest things seem like monumental tasks. At Chesapeake ERgent Care in Gambrills, Maryland, we understand the pain migraine headaches cause and want to help you feel better.
To help manage your migraine pain, we’ve gathered tips that can reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches and improve your quality of life.
Start a migraine journal
To manage your migraines, first, you must understand them. Migraines can manifest in different ways. Everyone has different migraine triggers, symptoms, and indicators. Some people may experience prodrome (migraine symptoms that begin 24-48 hours before a headache and include things like constipation, irritability, and food cravings) while others have a migraine aura, where they’re plagued with visual and sensory disturbances.
Start tracking your headaches with a migraine journal. By tracking things like what triggered your migraine, your symptoms, what treatments you used and their success, and how long the migraine lasted, you can start to see patterns in your migraines and learn more about them.
Avoid triggers when you can
Many migraines start after you’re exposed to some sort of trigger. Common migraine triggers include:
- Hormonal changes
- Food additives
- Strong smells
- Bright lights
- Environmental changes
Once you figure out what things trigger your migraines, you can avoid these stimuli. When it’s not possible to avoid them, you can prepare by limiting your exposure (wearing sunglasses, opening windows, etc.) and having medication with you.
Begin treatment early
As soon as you recognize a migraine warning sign, start treatment. If you’re prescribed migraine medication, take it immediately. Over-the-counter pain relievers may relieve some of your symptoms.
If possible, go to a dark room and rest. Nap if you can. An ice pack wrapped in a cloth may offer some relief. Consuming caffeine may also help (but too much caffeine on a regular basis can increase migraine frequency), so grab a Mountain Dew and go somewhere quiet.
Take care of you for long-term management
To manage migraine headaches long term, you have to take care of yourself. Eat a well-balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. Avoid processed food, especially those with additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrates.
Migraines also result from too much alcohol and caffeine, so limit indulgent beverages to one or two a week. Drink plenty of water to ensure you stay hydrated. Strive for eight 8-ounce glasses a day. If you work out or sweat a lot, up your intake.
Develop and maintain a healthy sleep hygiene routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Engage in purposeful relaxation activities. Try deep breathing exercises or begin a yoga practice. Getting a therapeutic massage can reduce stress and migraine frequency, as can scheduling with a chiropractor. Supplementing with vitamins brings some migraine sufferers relief and vitamin B-12 is especially effective.
Keep trying until you find what works
As we said, everyone’s headaches are different. What works for one person won’t work for another, and your sister’s treatment may not make a difference to your headaches. Keep trying until you find the right regimen for your migraines. Once you do, start it as soon as you feel a headache coming on and be one step closer to managing your migraine pain.