Migraine is a common condition experienced by many people across the globe. Migraine is triggered by various factors and the only way to manage migraine is lifestyle management and symptomatic medical treatment. Knowing some of the day to day tips to manage migraines can help you deal with the condition better.
Day to Day Tips to Manage Migraine
Here are some day-to-day tips which can be followed to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and their triggers.
- Check Your Triggers - Make a diary and make note of all the activities that trigger migraine attacks. The most common ones are smoking (since nicotine narrows the blood vessels of brain), tobacco consumption, strenuous exercise, intense physical activity, change in the sleeping pattern of an individual, neck pain or dental problems.
- Watch Sugar Levels - A significant drop in the blood sugar level is a common migraine trigger. To avoid this trigger of migraine, eat regularly every four hours; avoid skipping meals or having prolonged gaps between meals. Eat foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI) like fruits, green vegetables, cheese and yogurt. Avoid very high GI foods pastries, white bread, pastry, sugar drink and sweet.
- Reduce Stress – Migraine can be severely triggered by stress. Doctors believe that stress or mental tension are the obvious precipitating factors causing migraines. Anything that soothes the mind and reduces stress levels should be done to avoid the migraine triggers. Breathing exercises, yoga, relaxation and stress management techniques can help. Also strategies to cope with daily stress and some behavioral changes can help to handle stressful situations and help to manage migraine. If required, you may consider consulting family members, or even a psychiatrist in order to get effective treatment.
- Manage Your Work - Take frequent breaks from your work, especially, if you have a desk job and use computers. Practice stretching and deep breathing during office breaks or between your household chores. This will help to relax the neck muscles and release tension. Also, organize your work with proper time management, effective communication and prioritization. This can help reduce undue stress and help to prevent migraine attacks.
- Sleep Adequately – Studies have shown that both migraine and tension headaches are precipitated by inadequate sleep and changes in sleeping patterns. Some studies suggest that disturbance in sleep triggers 50% of migraines, 71 % of migraine attacks came after awakening from sleep. Short sleepers who slept on an average of 6-7 hours triggered more headaches than those who slept longer. Taking enough sleep, especially at night is a very useful day-to-day tip to manage migraine.
- Maintain Healthy Weight – Many researches also show that obese people suffered more migraines than the healthy ones. So, maintaining a healthy weight is very essential to manage migraine.
- Exercise Regularly – Apart from maintaining healthy weight, exercises can also help to relax your muscles and relieve tension, thus reducing stress. Regular exercise can keep your fit and stress hormones released can help to keep stress at bay. It improves digestion and improves cardiac conditioning, both of which can help to manage migraine. Breathing exercises can help to improve blood circulation and reduce stress, thus helping to manage migraine.
- Drink Plenty of Water - Drinking plenty of water helps to keep migraine problem away. Studies have shown that dehydration triggered migraine attacks in most migraine sufferers. Drinking enough water helps to remove toxic and harmful substances from the body and works as a detoxifier. It flushes out all the wastage of the body through urine. All this can have an impact on unnecessary build of toxic waste and stress in the body, thus helping to manage migraine.
- Avoid Direct Light - Exposure to a direct light can trigger a migraine attack. Wear protective sunglasses when you step out on a scorching sunny day. Make sure you are wearing anti glare glasses while driving at night or working on laptop and prescription glasses are there while driving during daytime. The direct entry of light into the eyes, is one of the most common triggers of migraine which leads to severe headaches. Wash your face and eyes with water to relieve stress. Close your eyes for few minutes during your break for relaxation.
- Avoid Foods Causing Migraines - Fermented foods, spicy snacks, chocolates and nuts are few food items that most commonly trigger migraines. Though, eliminating them from diet isn`t totally possible yet taking them in moderation would help. Caffeine is one such food that holds a special place in the migraine diary since it can be used as treatment as well as a trigger. When a migraine attack is at peak, caffeine itself may alleviate this pain but it can also start the same migraine attack.
- Quit Smoking - Smoking is one of the primary causes of migraine attacks. Nicotine which is the ingredient of tobacco in a cigarette stimulates the blood vessels of brain to constrict. It also stimulates nerves of neck, back of throat contributing to the headache. Passive smoking too can trigger a migraine attack. Passive smoking and sensitivity to certain odors, can very well set off migraine attacks. By avoiding these places, migraine attacks can easily be avoided.
- Manage Other Medical Conditions – You may be taking medicines for other problems like high blood pressure or diabetes, etc. Any changes in your daily routine can trigger migraine. So, to manage migraine effectively, make sure you take your regular medicines, as per your schedule and go for your follow-up as required. For those having issues with digestion, vision problems, dental issues, sinus or vertigo problems, too need to get your condition evaluated and properly treated. Presence of such conditions can worsen your migraine attacks, hence get such problems treated in time, to be able to manage migraine.
- Treat Migraine - For severe headache and migraine symptoms, it may be required to seek medical opinion. Doctors usually prescribe a regular medicine to prevent migraine attacks and a medicine for severe headache in case of acute migraine attack. Some may also find relief from alternative therapies, which too must be taken form the experts. Take the medications as advised, it will help to manage migraine effectively.
Apart from these day-to-day tips to manage migraine, it is necessary to know that during a migraine attack, you need adequate rest. Getting away from the trigger factor, sleeping in a dark room, eating something light and drinking water may help, depending on your migraine trigger. Medicines for migraine and headache may be helpful in such cases and can be taken as advised by your physician.