“I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.”
If you had to describe your migraine headache to someone, what words would you use?
Would you let them know that a migraine is more than just a headache?
If you’re like me, you’re also one of the 36 million Americans who are susceptible to migraine headaches. Migraines can be triggered by any number of things including, but not limited to:
- changes in weather
- lack of sleep
- bright lights
Stress leads the list of all psychological triggers for migraine headaches and may be the most common migraine trigger of all. Understanding stress and how it effects your life could help you cope better with migraines.
Think of specific things you can add to or take away from your daily routine to reduce stress and help avoid migraine headache pain. Keep a note of the results and discuss them with your doctor.
Get enough rest. One of the best ways to do this is set regular bedtime and waking up times each day so that your body clock regulates itself. It may take 2 to 3 weeks for your body to adapt to this new routine, so it is important to set times and stick with them. Gradually, as your body begins to get used to these times your stress levels should reduce along with the frequency of migraine headaches.
Find an exercise you enjoy and stick with it. Exercise not only fortifies your body, but helps with “resting” your mind. You tend to forget all your worries when exercising. Try mild aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week.
Eat sensibly and have regular meals. Eat foods that are migraine trigger-free for you. Cut down on processed and overly sugary items. To avoid temptation, don’t have them in the house. Keep in mind that processed and sugary foods are not good for your body and can actually increase stress levels.
Headaches can be caused by ordinary foods that most of us eat every day. But cutting out common food triggers from your diet does not mean that you have to sacrifice tasty meals.
When it comes to migraines, decaffeinated coffee, fruit juice and sparkling water are better choices for beverages than caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. If you choose to have an alcoholic drink, stick with single measures and alternate an alcoholic drink with water.
Dairy products can also be common triggers for migraines. Try reducing or cutting out dairy items from your diet for a month to see if this makes a difference to your migraines.
Meats such as corned beef, hot dogs and pickled herring are “cured meats,” and contain an ingredient called sodium nitrate, which can trigger a headache. Instead, consider poultry or freshly purchased and prepared meats.
Identify areas of stress in your life and begin working to improve them. Share your problems, concerns, and thoughts with others. Don’t keep them to yourself. Sharing a problem can provide almost instant relief and you may find that others have constructive suggestions for solving issues. Also, have the courage to say “no” to people who place unwanted demands on your time.
Learn how to relax. If you sit down to rest, do not immediately pick up the phone, read a magazine or turn on the TV. Try out relaxation tapes to help you unwind and relax. You’ll find them at most music or bookstores. You can also search the Internet for tapes specifically designed to help prevent migraine headaches.
If you are suffering with Migraines, you should first consult your primary care physician before taking other steps.
In addition to your doctor-prescribed treatment create a migraine “kit” to prepare for a sudden attack. For example, sunglasses can help with light sensitivity, and a plastic bag or basin may be necessary if any nausea or vomiting occurs.
Migraine headaches can be managed. It just takes time and figuring out a treatment plan that will work for you.
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