If you’ve ever experienced a migraine, you know that it’s not just any other headache. Migraines can cause severe symptoms such as throbbing pain, vision changes, sensitivity to light and nausea. When you feel a migraine coming on, one of the first things you want to do is go to a dark room and stay there until it goes away.
According to the World Health Organisation, migraine headaches are in the top 10 of disabling conditions. This is why so many people lose days at work, have reduced productivity and higher costs for healthcare when trying to find relief. Another point with migraines is that they can stop you from being able to do the things that you want to do with your friends and family. Many women going through menopause also experience an increase in migraine headaches.
If migraines are interfering with your daily routine, it’s always best to have a chat with your doctor and get your migraines checked out. If you are experiencing migraines due to hormone changes and fluctuations, there are a few things that you may want to try out to help relieve migraine symptoms.
Go to a calm environment
One thing that helps a lot of people is taking a break and stopping whatever you’re doing, if possible. At the first sign of a migraine, either turn off the lights or head to a quiet and dark room. Because migraines can cause sensitivity to light and sound, being in a quiet room can help reduce the symptoms of migraine. If you can, have a short nap or sleep.
While you’re in a dark environment, you can also try a hot or cold compress to the head or to the back of the neck. A heat pack can help relax any tense muscles and an ice pack can have a numbing effect, which can dull the sensation of pain. If you feel like you may benefit from a heating pad but don’t have one, a warm shower or bath may also be helpful.
Improve your sleep schedule
A migraine may stop you from getting to sleep at night or may wake you up early in the morning. But, a migraine can also be triggered by lack of sleep. Look at your sleep hygiene and routine and ensure that you get a good night’s sleep each night.
Make sure you are sleeping regular hours and going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. This includes your weekends. If you need help to unwind at the end of the day, turn off your smartphone and do some activities to help you relax and get better sleep at night. You may read a book, listen to some soothing music or maybe even take a warm bath before bed. Some people may also benefit from doing a short meditation before sleeping. Reduce any distractions and don’t have any heavy meals or lots of caffeine before bedtime. Alcohol can also interfere with your sleep patterns.
Assess your diet
It’s important to have a balanced and healthy diet. Try to stay consistent with your meals each day and have your meals and snacks similar times every day. Try not to skip meals as fasting may increase the risk of migraine. There are also some foods that may trigger migraines in certain people. If you suspect a certain food is triggering your migraines, try and eliminate them from your diet to see if it helps with your migraines. Some common food intolerances include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol or aged cheese.
Get some exercise
We all know that exercise is good for our health, both physical and mental. The body releases various chemicals when we exercise to help alleviate depression and anxiety. But exercise can also block pain signals to the brain so getting some regular exercise may in fact help to reduce the incidence of migraine. If you’re maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and diet, you can also help reduce your risk of chronic headaches. There have been some studies to show that obesity can increase the risk of headaches and migraines. If you’re unsure of what exercises to participate in, have a chat with your doctor. They may be able to provide you with an exercise schedule to help you to start getting into exercising and being more physical. This is especially important if you haven’t been exercising for a while.
There are a number of different herbal supplements on the market to help reduce migraine pain and frequency. There are also a number of different menopause herbal remedies, like Harmony that alleviate or help reduce the severity of various menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Some studies suggest that a deficiency in magnesium may trigger migraine aura or menstrual migraine headache. Choose a supplement that includes magnesium to help provide relief to migraine symptoms. However, with all types of medications and herbal remedies, it’s best to have a chat with your doctor first to make sure that it is right for you.
Migraines don’t have to ruin your day or week. If you are experiencing migraines and need more assistance, always be sure to have a chat with your doctor to see if there are any other complications to be aware of and they will be able to assist you with more personalised help.