Managing Your Migraine
Millions of Americans suffer from severe, unrelenting headaches that are incapaciting and significantly impact the quality of life of those suffering from migraine. Let me share with you some suggestions to manage a migraine by a using a combination of prevention strategies.
Write It Down
Keeping a migraine diary and tracking what you’re doing prior to developing a migraine. That method can help identify events or conditions that trigger or exacerbate a migraine headache. You’ll get a better sense of what foods or activities to avoid, if those are your triggers, or if high levels of stress at work or certain physical activities precede your migraines.
You really can’t expect yourself to power through a migraine. When you notice the warning signs of an impending headache, retreat to a quiet, dark space where you can relax and avoid the stimulation of light and sound that can worsen the pain.
Simple Steps in the Early Stage
Some people find that a cool compress placed on their head or neck can reduce the full impact of the migraine. Others like warmth, choosing a warm compress instead.
It seems like almost all health conditions can be improved by drinking more water. Lack of fluids and dehydration can contribute to a migraine. Conversely, staying hydrated can help you recover from one, especially if the pain has caused you to vomit.
Be a Master of Your Medications
Your doctor may choose to try you on a prescription drug to stave off future migraines. The most commonly used prophylactics fall into three categories: antidepressants, antihypertensive medication and antiepileptic drugs. If your doctor prescribes one of these meds for you, take them as prescribed.
Avoid Trigger Foods
If you’ve noticed that certain foods tend to trigger a migraine, plan to avoid them. Common trigger foods include fermented or pickled foods, foods containing the flavor enhancer MSG, red wine, aged cheeses, cured or processed meats and other meats containing sodium nitrate and sometimes citrus fruit and bananas.
Monitor Your Meds
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Motrin or Advil, can help reduce the pain of a mild migraine. But if you’re consuming the over-the-counter pain meds like candy or you’re taking too much of a prescription med, you could be unintentionally contributing to the problem.
Shift Gears if Necessary
If your current medication isn’t effective enough, talk to your doctor about trying something else. Unexplained weakness or numbness with a headache could also be a sign of a more serious medical problem. Some women also find that their birth control pills make their migraines worse, so again, this is another issue to discuss with your doctor.
Getting some exercise on a regular basis may help your overall health, but it can also help reduce your stress levels, which may reduce the likelihood of any migraines caused by stress. If you’re worried that exercise will trigger a migraine, start slow and choose a low-impact activity.
Consider Complementary Medicine
Behavioral therapy and biofeedback have proven themselves to be helpful for migraine treatment. There is anecdotal evidence that an herb called butterbur can effectively prevent some migraines, and other research suggests that coenzyme A10 and riboflavin may provide some ammunition in warding off migraines. Talk to your doctor, however, before taking any herbs or supplements, since they could interact with any other medications you’re taking.
Bottom Line: Migraine headaches cause significant deterioration of a person’s quality of life. Help is available to control the pain and discomfort. The strategies described in article are worth trying.