Millions across the world suffer from migraines daily. If you suffer from migraine yourself, surely you must know just how debilitating its symptoms can be. For that reason, here are five easy fixes to help you keep migraine attacks at bay.
Start By Journaling Your Daily Routine
No one knows you more than yourself. This can be translated to your personal thoughts or even goals in life, both of which can be jotted down and looked back upon from time-to-time. Similarly, journaling your daily habits can be significant in helping you cope with a migraine. Start by identifying your migraine frequency, and the severity of each attack. Doing so may help you determine possible triggers for each attack, allowing you to avoid them in future.
Next, turn your focus towards daily food and beverage consumption. Commonly known food and beverage triggers are caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, aged cheese and meats, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Jotting down your daily consumption can help you identify specific patterns, and subsequently create a healthier meal plan. If you have been prescribed medications, be it for migraines or other conditions, note them down as well. Some medications can cause side effects, which include migraine symptoms and headaches. Therefore, jotting down your medication information can come in handy, especially when speaking to a doctor on the possibility of substituting your prescription.
Be Aware of Hormonal Changes
Hormones play a significant role in the occurrence of migraine attacks amongst women. For most women, a migraine attack is most commonly experienced during, or just before menstruation. Therefore, it is extremely important that a woman attains a complete understanding of her menstrual cycle, to help her manage attacks effectively.
In addition, a woman should be especially careful with her diet and exercise habits during this period (pun intended). Adopting a meal plan void of trigger foods and beverages can help you prevent migraines from occurring. So does performing relaxed forms of physical activity. Besides that, ingesting oral contraceptives and undergoing hormone replacement therapy can also increase migraine frequency and severity. Oral contraceptives link directly to a fluctuation of estrogen hormones in a woman’s body. Hence, other forms of birth control should be taken into consideration.
Eating and Sleeping Right
Too much of anything pleasurable is never really a good thing. The same can be said for how much you sleep, especially when it is closely associated with migraine attacks. A lack of sleep can be extremely harmful to your body over the long run. This includes an impairment of bodily functions, loss of concentration and lack of motivation to perform daily activities. In a similar way, sleeping for more than the recommended 7-8 hours daily can trigger a migraine attack. This is most likely due to unregulated sleep time, which causes fatigue that leads to oversleeping. The best way to prevent this from happening would be to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, which ensures restful sleep throughout.
In stark contrast, fasting or skipping meals and staying dehydrated can also trigger migraines. To combat migraines caused by hunger, it is recommended that you consume a meal within an hour of waking up. Follow this up with healthy eating every three to four hours to ensure you stay full throughout the day. In a similar way, make sure you are well-hydrated throughout the day. Two litres of water is ideal, but remember to listen to your body and avoid drinking more water if it is telling you that you are no longer parched.
Stay Away From Loud Noise and Bright Lights
For many, loud noises, flashing or flickering lights and sensory stimulation can be triggers of a migraine attack. These stimuli may be difficult to avoid at times, but being aware of their occurrences and potential threats in common environments can help you manage migraine attacks effectively. Some of these examples include driving at night or under the glaring sun, going to the movies, attending a nightclub party, or watching live concerts at a crowded venue.
On the home or workplace front, ensure that you take frequent breaks from your television or computer screen. Also, opt to adjust the brightness levels on digital screens if they start to irritate your eyes. It is important to also pay close attention to audio disturbances, which you can muffle out by putting on headphones or steering clear from the noise altogether.
Exercise for Relaxation, Not Intensity
Regular exercise is a fundamental building block of a healthy lifestyle. However, for individuals who suffer from migraines, vigorous exercise can actually worsen migraine attacks. Therefore, pay attention to what your body is telling you when exercising. Look for signs that certain routines, especially those that involve lifting weights, can trigger a migraine.
If you discover this, it would be best to adopt physical activities that promote stress reduction without overtraining your body. Yoga, tai chi and light aerobics are all suitable options to help you achieve this goal. However, if you must train heavy, consider ingesting an anti-inflammatory drug prescribed by a doctor, as it will help ease migraine symptoms.
The journey to preventing migraine attacks from taking over your life starts with a little self-belief. And although living with migraine can be tormenting, take comfort in knowing that the choices you make today can help you lead a better life tomorrow. Take charge, and don’t let the shackles of migraine hold you down!
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