Living with migraines is not easy. If you suffer from them, it’s only natural to ask the question, “How can I manage my condition better?” Here are some quick tips.
Regulate Your Lifestyle
This may not sound like fun, but you’ll probably be better off if you systematically control your life. For example, eat on a regular basis. Try not to skip meals because hunger can trigger migraines. In fact, it’s best to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. You should also control your sleep patterns. That’s because either lack of sleep or too much slumber can bring on that throbbing pain and other associated symptoms. So try to go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends, and get up at the same time in the morning.
Drink Plenty of Water
While staying well hydrated is good for everyone, it’s especially important for migraine sufferers. That’s because dehydration can lead to a range of headaches from hangovers to migraines. Keep water at hand so you do not even have to think about it. Also, consider avoiding diet sodas and other beverages with artificial sweeteners as these additives have been linked to migraines.
Avoid Excessive Stimulation
As a migraine sufferer, your brain tends to become overstimulated easily. Therefore, avoid stimulants that bother you. For instance, if you are sensitive to lights and loud noises you might want to avoid the latest James Bond movie at the theater. Intense weather can also trigger migraines. If it does for you, stay indoors when the mercury climbs or storms are brewing. Ideally, migraine sufferers would be best served living in areas that see few severe weather patterns.
There are mixed reviews on exercise. Some studies have shown that exercise can decrease the frequency and severity of migraines.1 On the other hand, many people complain that migraine attacks follow intense workouts.
To ward off migraines, move into a new exercise routine slowly and carefully so your body can gradually adjust to it. This procedure gives you the opportunity to monitor how increased activity affects your migraine symptoms.
The Good and Bad of Medications
When it comes to medications, just like many other aspects related to migraines, they are good in moderation. Should you overdo your medication intake and then go cold turkey, you could be punished with a medication overuse headache.
There are many foods that doctors and patients suspect as migraines triggers. Studies, however, have not conclusively proven that most of them are culprits. If you think a particular food is causing your migraines, eliminate it from your diet for a month or so to determine whether this change of diet alleviates your symptoms.
Keep a Migraine Diary
Nothing is set in stone when it comes to migraines, which means there are no easy answers. What precipitates a migraine for you may be very different to what sets one off for someone else. So keep a diary of your lifestyle, eating and drinking habits as well as your migraine symptoms and severity. When you visit your doctor, discuss this with him or her, and come up with a plan to try to alleviate your pain and discomfort.
While there is no silver bullet, there are changes you can make today that will most likely do no harm and may help. These include regulating your lifestyle, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding excess stimulation. When it comes to other areas of your life, think about moderation, especially as it relates to exercise and medication. Finally, keep a migraine diary and try to determine your migraine triggers so you can stay away from them. Take these steps and living with migraines may just become a little easier.
1“Exercise and Migraine.” http://www.migrainetrust.org/factsheet-exercise-and-migraine-10714. Accessed November 17, 2015.