Migraines are an extremely consuming and overwhelming condition. While you have the migraine episode much of your life and routine is hampered. There are no solutions to this condition, but migraine self-care may prove to be a relief for some.
Whilst seeking medical guidance is crucial, it is best to incorporate some effective self-care practices into your routine. Remember, your condition is unique. What worked for one person, doesn’t promise the same outcome for you.
But, if you are managing the problem with some migraine self-care routine, chances are you will be able to mitigate the frequency and severity of migraines.
With migraines that have hampered my routine, and consumed my life for over fifteen years, I bring this guide which delves into various aspects of migraine self-care. The goal is to equip you with the tools and knowledge to take control of your well-being.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Problem for Better Migraine Self-care
First and foremost, let’s understand the problem to be able to manage it.
Migraines are neurological disorders characterized by recurrent, intense headaches. These are often accompanied by strong or weak symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances (white halo, or distorted image).
The pain is often restrained to one side, sometimes it consumes the whole head but is more pronounced in one area. Some feel pain around the eyes, face, jaw, necks, and temples. Some days it lasts a few hours, or sometimes, it can go on for three days.
Recognizing these triggers and symptoms are unique to your migraines, and is the first step toward your effective migraine self-care.
Creating a Diary
No that’s not the ‘dear diary’ of sort if you are worried!
It is merely a journal you can keep as the migraine decides to bless your day. You can take note of triggers, patterns, and duration of pain, time, sleep, and food logs.
With the help of these tiny details, you would be able to identify the recurring patterns in your routine that could possibly be triggers to create a migraine self-care plan.
When I maintained my diary for two months, I learned my triggers for migraines were staying out in the sun in peak hours, certain by-products of milk, and heavy fragrances.
After collecting this information, I could implement some changes in my lifestyle to avoid triggers at best. Here are some lifestyle changes which would reduce the occurrence of migraine.
Sleep: A person who keeps having migraines, must maintain a consistent sleep schedule. You must ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Try to create a calming bedtime routine to promote relaxation before sleep.
Diet: Stay hydrated. I cannot emphasize this enough! Also, maintain regular meal times. In foods, log in a diary to identify potential trigger foods, such as caffeine, processed foods, or certain additives. On recognition, try to limit their consumption.
Stress Management: Most migraine patients will agree stress is a great contributor to episodes. Try some stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation. Engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation.
Hydration and Nutrition
Hydration: 8 out of 10 times, you will find, that the day you had less water intake will end in a migraine. If you have a stressful work day, try to manage your water intake.
You can put an alarm on your phone or a smartwatch to prompt you to drink at regular intervals. Also, try to include herbal teas or water-infused fruits to level up hydration.
Balanced Diet: Always consume a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. These are found in fatty fish like salmon and have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Meal Timing: Hunger triggers migraine. Have a maintained regular meal time to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent hunger-induced migraines.
Most migraine patients have seen visible changes in intensity and occurrence after introducing some form of physical activity. Maintain regular and moderate exercise as part of your migraine self-care routine.
Moreover, activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Remember, some patients find if they overexert with exercise, it triggers migraines.
Light Sensitivity: Bright throbbing lights are a problem! Have a migraine-friendly environment by reducing exposure to bright and throbbing lights and using anti-glare screens. When you are going out in some, use sunglasses or tinted glasses to reduce exposure.
Noise Sensitivity: When possible, minimize noise exposure during migraine attacks. You can invest in noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques help many who suffer from migraines. Practice the technique to release muscle tension and alleviate stress.
Deep Breathing: When stress and anxiety contribute as a trigger, try deep breathing exercises to induce relaxation and muscle stress around the neck and shoulder.
Guided Imagery: It may sound trivial but studies have proved that guided imagery has helped many with intense migraines. Guided imagery has the ability to transport your mind to a calm and peaceful place, hence distracting from the pain.
Oftentimes, the pain’s intensity is unbearable and none of these measures are any help. In that case, consult a healthcare professional to prescribe appropriate medication options.
Meanwhile, over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and certain preventive drugs help manage migraines. But, always follow your doctor’s guidance and keep track of medication effectiveness along with potential side effects.
Herbal supplements, such as Butterbur and Feverfew, have shown the potential to condense the frequency and severity of migraines.
Nevertheless, consult your healthcare provider before incorporating any supplements into your regimen. Only your healthcare provider can tell what works for you well after carefully evaluating your conditions and checking for any drug alterations.
Connect with support groups, online communities, or therapists who specialize in pain management. Sharing experiences and learning from others can provide emotional support and practical tips.
Migraine self-care is a multi-faceted approach. It involves understanding the triggers, making lifestyle changes, adding some healthy habits, and adopting relaxation techniques.
When you implement these approaches into your daily routine, you can take positive steps to manage your migraines and improve your overall quality of life.
Remember, everyone has a different journey. Be patient and persistent as you discover the self-care practices that work best for you. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your self-care routine or treatment plan.