Migraine pain can strike at any time of the year. However, unique winter conditions can exacerbate your symptoms. Even getting dressed takes longer, increasing pressure and stress and triggering attacks.
However, you can mitigate triggers and decrease the downtime associated with this disease. Follow these seven winter migraine prevention tips to increase your overall well-being as the cold season wanes.
1. Build Habits With Stacks
Perhaps you know that meditation decreases the number of migraine attacks you experience. However, you struggle to fit regular practice into your current routine. You mean well, but you forget amid the hubbub and demands of daily life.
One solution is stacking your healthy habits with activities you already perform so they integrate into your daily routine more seamlessly. For example, adding 10 to 15 minutes for meditation before you brush your teeth can help you remember to prioritize your practice.
Stacking can also help you remember to take necessary preventive medications. For example, place prescriptions that you must take on an empty stomach on your night table so it’s natural to reach for them when you first awaken.
2. Check Your Mineral Intake
Malnutrition can increase the severity and frequency of migraine attacks. Most people in America get plenty of calories and macronutrients like protein. However, they can still develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies, adversely impacting their health, particularly if they rely on ultra processed foods for most meals.
For example, researchers have found an association between magnesium deficiency and increased migraine pain. You can supplement this mineral or increase your intake by eating more nuts and seeds. The latter also contains lignans to balance your hormonal cycle, useful if you’re female and your headaches correlate with your period.
3. Curb the Fluorescents
Wintertime means lower light levels, causing many people to rely on artificial illumination. The type you choose can influence migraine pain. Fluorescent lights contain invisible pulsing, triggering attacks in some patients. These devices often emit a subtle hum that can irritate the sensitive.
See if you can move your desk near a window or another natural light source if you work in an office. Opt for a desktop LED if that’s an option. If not, investigate telecommuting so you can better control your environment — the great resignation means your employer might be more flexible to retain valued staff.
4. Moisten Your Indoor Air
Dry, indoor air can increase migraine pain by drying out your mucus membranes, triggering inflammation. It also allows germs and pollutants to circulate more readily, potentially causing attacks.
The solution? Moisten your air by adding a humidifier. You might find additional relief with a desktop model that doubles as an aromatherapy diffuser. Scents such as eucalyptus and lavender have reputations for easing migraine pain.
5. Wear Your Mouth Guard
Bruxism or tooth-grinding can also trigger migraines. Your trigeminal nerve extends from your jawline through your temples, and the pressure can induce attacks.
Your dentist can prescribe a specialty mouthguard that protects your enamel while decreasing headache pain. You can also find over-the-counter models, although you might have to experiment with several brands to find the right fit.
6. Practice Stress Management
Stress — it’s perhaps the most notorious migraine trigger. Keeping yours under control can help you ease the worst of your winter symptoms.
Begin by identifying the source of your stress. If you feel like you can never tackle your entire to-do list, talk with your supervisor for strategies to manage your workload or delegate some responsibilities. If financial woes have you worrying, now’s a great time to investigate your options for a better-paying position. Are your working conditions causing you unnecessary stress and triggering more attacks? Seek an employer with a proven track record of supporting the disabled community.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Winter’s long nights can provide a pain-relieving bonus — making it easier for you to get your sleep. Adequate rest helps prevent attacks.
Make your room even more conducive to sleep by banning electronics, at least after dark. If nausea or rare symptoms like partial paralysis sometimes necessitate working from bed, find a place to park your computer elsewhere at day’s end and put it there at least 30 minutes before slumber. The blue light emitted by such devices can interrupt your sleep cycles.
Take advantage of the cooler temps to induce restful sleep. Most people find 65 degrees or so ideal — and dropping the thermostat after nightfall can also save you money on your utility bill.
Winter Migraine Prevention Tips
If you’re prone to migraines, you might find your symptoms increase in the winter. Fortunately, you can take preventive measures to reduce the number and severity of your attacks. Follow the strategies above to navigate the cold season with improved well-being.