Migraines are different for everyone. Sometimes they come on slowly, and you can take preemptive action to ward off the worst of the pain. Other times, they come out of nowhere, especially if you don’t know what signs to look for.
They can be completely disabling, with some people getting sick to the point of vomiting. Others suffer from severe pain, made worse by lights and sounds. Still others may have the pain while also experiencing a kind of underwater effect, where sounds seem muted and lights dance around the top of their vision.
Whatever kind affects you, it’s always best to talk to your doctor. However, if you’re on the verge of getting one or know they is a possibility, there are things you can do. Read on to learn about 10 options to help make it through another migraine.
1. Avoid Triggers
Sometimes you can figure out what causes a migraine. You may find you’re sensitive to certain foods, long exposure to intense stimuli like a loud music concert, medications or even hormonal changes. If you are careful and keep track of what you do and eat on a regular basis, you may be able to pinpoint ways to head off a migraine.
If you have a migraine already or can feel it setting in, a massage may be able to help. Prolonged tension, especially when coupled with stress, can be strongly related to the onset of migraines. Self-massage can help relieve that. There are several ways to do so, but you should focus the massage on the neck, temples and forehead. However, you can extend this down your back and to your jaw, should you find tightness there.
Certain herbs or herbal teas can help with migraine pain. Studies done on butterbur and feverfew showed a decrease in the number of migraines people suffered when taking the herbs. They have been used for centuries, but a concentrated extract, especially of butterbur, may have some safety concerns. Proper processing can take care of that, but it’s important to be careful where you purchase it from.
4. Essential Oils
Certain oils can speed the recovery and ease the pain from severe headaches and migraines. Peppermint, lavender and basil are all popular options that are said to help relieve the pain of a migraine. These oils help with relaxation and inflammation, so they can be doubly effective. However, if you become sensitive to smells while suffering, then don’t try to force it. It may not work for you.
5. Medical Marijuana
This could be a tricky one, depending on where you live. If you live somewhere that has sanctioned the use of medical marijuana, it could be extremely helpful for migraines. It acts as both a remedy to one that has already started, and as a preventative. However, with so many states ratifying the use of medical marijuana, it’s more likely than not you can make use of it. Florida made headlines when it voted to allow medical marijuana late last year. It can’t hurt to investigate and talk to a doctor.
One of the things you learn when engaging in something strenuous, like running a marathon or growing a baby, is that you need the right amounts of vitamins to be comfortable. Two of the more important ones for muscle health are magnesium and potassium. Low magnesium levels have been found to be associated with a migraine attack, so it’s been theorized that a supplement could help ward them off or shorten their duration. This only works in some people, however, so try it with an open mind.
7. Stretching and Posture
Sometimes the biggest issue is how you’re sitting. Certain positions can put a lot of pressure in the wrong areas. If you get migraines after sitting at a desk or doing some kind of repetitive task, it could be related to posture. Tingling or numbness in the hands, jaw clenching and tingles in the temples can all be symptoms of poor posture. If it’s bad enough, this can easily contribute to migraines. Working on posture with stretching exercises can be helpful.
8. Relaxation Techniques
Massage is a great tool, but if you can’t get one there are plenty of other things you can do to help with a migraine. Sometimes during a migraine, all you can manage is to lie down in a cool, dark place with no noise. That’s fine, if that’s what you need. However, a bath could also help. Typically heat isn’t the best option, but much of that depends on you. Meditation can also be helpful, especially if stress is one of your triggers. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, sometimes as effectively as medicine.
9. Proper Hydration
Sometimes the worst migraines you get are simply caused by not taking proper care of your body. Diet can occasionally be the cause, but it’s more likely related to dehydration. If you work outside in warm weather or are very active, it can be easy to fall behind in drinking enough. Keep track of the water you consume, and you can prevent some migraines before they even begin.
Headaches of all kinds are often caused by inflammation. In such a case, ice is a better option than heat. A cold pack settled over your forehead in a dark, quiet room will often provide a surprising amount of relief. Ice works best if your migraines are due to inflammation. If they aren’t, the ice can still provide relief, even if it doesn’t necessarily shorten the process.
The biggest thing you can do to avoid a migraine in the first place is take proper care of yourself. A good diet, enough sleep, plenty of water and avoiding triggers are all important aspects. Sometimes it won’t work though. When that happens, being prepared can help you manage your migraines.
|||^||University of Maryland Medical Center: Migraine headache|