A migraine is more than just a headache. It’s an extreme pain that throbs, usually on one side of the head, and it tends to be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light. Sufferers may even have visual disturbances too including a blind spot, auras around light sources, and flashes or splotches in their vision. The studies into why migraines occur are still ongoing, but the research into how to help reduce their symptoms have yielded some results. Here are some of the best ways to help yourself when you are suffering from a migraine.
Watch Out For Triggers
One of the best ways (although perhaps one of the more difficult as well) to reduce the chances of having a migraine in the first place is to watch out for the triggers that you know cause your migraines. Everyone has their own trigger, and if you pay attention to what you have been doing in the lead up to your migraine, you should be able to work out what it is.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Take alcohol, for example. If you find that you develop what you might think is a hangover after just one glass, you might be mistaken; that headache and pain you feel could, in fact, be a migraine instead. If that is the case, you will need to avoid the alcohol that makes you feel like that. It does tend to be just one type of alcohol, so if you can drink something else and not have the same one drink hangover effect, you will know what causes your pain.
Increase Your Estrogen Levels
Women can find that a drop in estrogen levels brings on their migraine. Just before menstruating, a woman’s estrogen levels drop, and that can bring on a migraine. If you are a woman and you experience migraines every month at around the same time, this could be the cause. Speak to your doctor if this is the case because he or she may be able to prescribe some low doses of contraceptive containing estrogen.
Don’t Miss Meals
When you skip meals, your blood sugar can fluctuate wildly, and this can often be a catalyst for your migraine to begin. Try to eat every three hours, just small meals if possible, if you tend to develop migraines as this will keep your blood sugar at a steady level. If you know you are going to be out and unable to have a meal at your regular time make sure you have some kind of energy bar or some nuts that will keep you going until you can eat properly.
Limit Your Caffeine
When you usually drink a lot of caffeine, you can quickly go into withdrawal when you stop for any reason. This withdrawal manifests itself in terrible headaches that can stimulate the migraine center in your brain and soon escalate into migraines. If you can limit your caffeine intake to around 200mg a day, or one 8 ounce cup, then if you do stop, you won’t run the risk of withdrawal causing you debilitating pain.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is the cause of many physical (and some emotional and mental) problems including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes. It can also trigger migraines in those who are susceptible to them. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Your body will have the chance to repair itself ready for the next day, and you’ll be a lot less likely to suffer from migraines as a result.
Use Ice Packs
If you are suffering from a migraine, then an ice pack can lessen the symptoms and allow you to at least move around more comfortably. Cold is always better than heat for a migraine as it is an anti-inflammatory and this helps because the pain may be caused as your blood vessels become inflamed and enlarged, with too much blood pumping through them at one time, putting pressure on the brain and skull.
Taking supplements is a good idea for your general health, especially if your diet isn’t a particularly varied or healthy one. When it comes to treating migraines, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) seems to work best, and you can buy it in pill form over the counter. If you would rather add vitamin B2 naturally to your diet, you will need to consume beef liver, lamb, milk, mushrooms, spinach, or almonds amongst other things.
If your state has legal cannabis dispensaries, then your doctor could well prescribe medical cannabis to help your migraines. The research seems to suggest that the combination of the relaxing effect of the cannabis along with the natural plant extracts within it has a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect. If you’re looking for advice, check out Leafbuyer for further information.
Being more relaxed will help with many physical and even some mental ailments and migraines are no different. A massage, for example, will relax the entire body, but it will also ease the neck and shoulder muscles, making the area less tense and therefore less prone to developing a migraine. Tai chi is another excellent way to relax. This practice makes you more aware of your body, and that means you can more easily spot when a migraine is about to happen.
Not everyone enjoys the idea of having pins stuck in them, but this is the wrong view of acupuncture, and when you look more deeply into it and it is really about, the idea suddenly seems a lot less worrying and a lot more helpful. A number of different studies have shown that acupuncture done by a qualified professional can have many of the same long-term results as medicated drugs would have, only with no chance of any side effects.
Probably the last thing you would think of when trying to come up with ways to reduce the symptoms of a migraine, Botox really can help. In fact, Botox injections were approved by the FDA in 2010 as a form of pain relief for migraines. You will need shots every 12 weeks or so, but the results so far are extremely encouraging.