Migraines are not an uncommon condition. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world. It is much more than a headache. Migraines have more severe symptoms that can be incapacitating.
Typically, migraines are also much more difficult to get rid of. Here are some strategies which may be helpful in preventing the onset of a migraine, or resolving the condition:
1. Put On Shades
Light sensitivity is a common symptom among suffers. This condition is called photophobia. If light makes you wince in pain during an attack, simply slip on some sunglasses. This will help dull the brightness and give a little relief. Another common strategy is to close the curtains and shut off lights.
2. Sleep Well
Sleep tends to be underrated in a busy lifestyle. However, studies have shown that keeping to a regular sleep schedule may help stave off attacks. Have a consistent schedule as possible for going to bed and waking up.
3. Move It
Exercise can also be a strong preventive measure. According to the American Migraine Foundation, regular exercise may reduce the severity and frequency of headaches and migraines. Endorphins are released when you engage in exercise. The endorphins help to boost your mood, but more importantly, are the body's natural pain killers. Another benefit of regular exercise is that it reduces stress and helps you to sleep better. Inadequate sleep and stress are both triggers for the onset of headaches and migraines.
4. Remove Strong Scents
Many suffers have found that scents from perfume and room fresheners can be triggers to their condition. Keeping a small vial of coffee beans or mint can be a quick and easy way to cover the offending odors. One whiff of the substitute scent may be helpful in staving off the onset of an attack.
5. Stress Control
One of the biggest triggers for headaches is stress. No one can prevent stress from entering their lives, so it is important to have some tactics for relieving it. One method is to adjust your schedule so the busyness is less. Use that time to do activities that promote calmness and self-fulfillment in your life. There should be a spot during each day designated specifically for stress relief. Take a hot bath, do some yoga, paint, listen to music or whatever causes you to feel calm and at peace. Waiting for time on the weekend, or less frequently, can serve to trigger headaches and elevate it to the next level of pain.
Aromatherapy uses plant extracts, also called essential oils. Many pain sufferers use these oils to alleviate their symptoms and improve overall mental and physical health. These extracts can be used in a diffuser or rubbed on the skin. Some can even be ingested safely. Always use caution, of course, and be sure to research the oil before using it. While there are many scents to choose from, certain oils are known to help more with pain than others. For example, peppermint is commonly used to make you less aware of the pain, and lavender to reduce anxiety. Both of these can simply be rubbed onto your temple or the inside of your wrist.
7. Temperature Control
When dealing with a migraine, sometimes heating things up will help relieve stress and tension. When your tension lowers, the pain fades. A hot bath or shower will help loosen up tense muscles. It will also be mentally relaxing, thus reducing stress. For other people, the key is to cool things down. No one is really sure why for some people cooling down helps reduce pain, but many people have reported relief after using ice packs or cool towels on their necks, scalp, temple, or forehead.
8. Limit Blue Light Exposure
While exposure to blue during the day may regulate the circadian rhythm and help keep you alert, there are some negative side effects for those who suffer from migraines. Blue light can increase symptoms such as aura, photophobia, light sensitivity, dizziness, and nausea. When the pain starts, it is important to severely limit exposure to the blue light. Since electronic devices give off blue light, turning off the devices until your condition improves would be simplest. If you must still use your computer or phone, wear the rose-colored glasses that help defray the effects of blue light.
9. Up Your Magnesium
When fighting headache pain, magnesium is a potent mineral to have on your side. Daily doses can be ingested naturally through black beans, leafy greens, Brazil nuts, avocados, and whole grains. Magnesium can also be taken orally in the form of pills, powder or drops. The American Migraine Foundation has noted low levels of magnesium in sufferers during an episode.
10. Silence Is Golden
Another common trigger is noise. As the pain increases, the tolerance for any sound diminishes. Most people will simply go into another room and shut the door to keep out extraneous noise. Another tactic is to use earplugs if you can get to a quiet spot. Sometimes having white noise, like a fan running, will help to block out noise but not cause any increase in pain.
11. Caffeine Up
Another strategy to try is drinking coffee at the onset of your headache. For some people, caffeine can diminish the effects of a migraine. Before a headache, blood vessels tend to enlarge. Caffeine as vasoconstrictive properties, which shrink the blood vessels back to normal size. The narrower passage restricts blood flow, lessening the pain. It is also believed that caffeine, due to its diuretic properties, makes processing over the counter medicine more efficient.
Sometimes there is nothing to do but go for the big guns and take some pain relieving medicine. Medicine can vary from over the counter variety to prescription drugs. Many times even if drugs are needed, it is to take the edge off the pain. Then more natural means of control may be able to be used successfully.
Headaches and migraines affect millions of people. Treatment of symptoms and preventative treatments are available and can be natural and inexpensive. Of course, if your condition persists, always seek the advice of a professional. Sometimes this is a simple visit to your family doctor, and sometimes it means being checked out by a specialist.