If you’ve ever suffered through a migraine, you know it’s no typical headache. In addition to throbbing pain, migraines can induce light sensitivity, nausea, and vision changes. It can take hours to days to recover from the effects of a migraine.
The World Health Organization classifies migraine among the top 10 disabling conditions. They often lead to high health care costs, lost income through missed days of work, and an inability to enjoy life.
WellCare Urgent Care can help migraine suffers find relief from the pain of a migraine. However, a large part of migraine control lies in lifestyle choices that promote good health and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
Read on to learn more about some of the choices that can help the most.
Anything that invariably leads to a migraine is considered a trigger. Common triggers include bright light, strong odors, some foods, medications, poor sleep habits, and stress. By avoiding these triggers, you can reduce the chance that a migraine will start. Following some of these tips can help.
Migraines are a catch-22 where sleep is concerned. Having a migraine can make it hard to get to sleep and even wake you up. At the same time, not getting enough sleep can be an easy trigger for migraines.
To ensure that you get enough sleep, try following some of these easy steps:
- Check your medications for caffeine or stimulants and see if there is an alternative.
- Minimize distractions by keeping your bedroom for intimacy and sleeping. Don’t watch TV, read, or use your phone in bed. Close the door to your room and use a fan or white noise machine to drown out disturbing sounds.
- Unwind at the end of the day with something that helps you relax.
- Encourage a steady sleep routine with regular sleep hours and limit naps to 30 minutes or less.
Some things are known to make sleeping more difficult. These should be avoided right before bed and include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, heavy meals, and intense exercise.
Consistency is key for the diet of the migraine sufferer. Don’t skip meals and try to eat around the same time every day.
Keeping a food journal can help you to identify your specific food triggers and avoid those foods. Some common food triggers include chocolate, caffeine, aged cheese, and alcohol, especially wine.
While vigorous exercise can be a migraine trigger, regular low-impact physical activity can actually help prevent migraines. This is due to the chemicals released during exercise. These include dopamine and endorphins, which lift feelings of depression and anxiety as well as blocking pain signals to the brain.
If you already feel a migraine coming on, there are a few things—other than medication—that you can do to reduce its severity.
The first thing to do when you feel the onset of a migraine is to step away and create a calm environment. If you can, take a short nap. If not, take a break in a quiet dark room and work to relax. Try deep breathing, meditation, or whatever else helps you destress.
Another helpful tool is temperature therapy. Ice can work as an analgesic by numbing pain in the head and neck. Applying heat—through heating pads, hot compresses, warm baths, etc.—works to relax tense muscles which may help relieve migraine pain.
If all else fails and you find yourself in the throes of a migraine that you cannot control, the friendly and professional staff at WellCare Urgent Care in Grand Rapids can help. Visit them today to learn more about managing migraines. A healthy combination of lifestyle changes and medication is often the most effective way to do just that.