A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Many people have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light or sound. This can be debilitating at times and effect quality of life.
The exact cause of a migraine is unknown. However, it can be controlled with the right lifestyle changes.
- Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
A diet high in processed foods and sodium is one of the biggest triggers for migraine symptoms.
Foods that can help prevent or treat migraines include those with omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts and flaxseeds. Fresh fruits and vegetables, foods high in magnesium (like dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, avocados and bananas), foods high in Riboflavin (like Spinach, beetroot greens and mushrooms) and healthy plant based proteins are helpful.
- Manage Stress
Activities like exercise, reading, going outdoors, listening to soft music, and meditation etc… are great stress relievers. Counselling by a psychologist would be helpful to deal with chronic pain, negative thoughts and behavior.
- Get Enough Sleep
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Most adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Make your sleeping environment as restful as possible. A cool, quiet, dark room and minimal devices around the bed, particularly those with lights.
- Stop smoking as nicotine suppresses the hormone which helps you sleep.
- Avoid watching TV or studying in bed.
- If you are wide-awake, don’t stay in bed. Ge
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these reduce the overall quality of your sleep rather than improving it.
- Keep a “Migraine Diary”
Recording details of a migraine attacks (Migraine Diary) can be useful in:
- helping the doctor make a firm diagnosis
- helps recognize triggers and warning signs
- assesses if medication is working
Women should record details of their menstrual cycle.
By keeping this diary, over a period of 2 or 3 months a pattern may be seen of the migraine attacks. The effect of different aspects of lifestyle may also become clear and new triggers may be identified. Keep a record of the drugs taken. This will give an idea about the type of drug that work best.
Below is a general outline of what a Migraine Diary should consist of-
|Duration of headache||Hours of sleep||Medication
Used and dose
At work, social, menstrual cycle etc
- Limit Screen Time
If you notice that migraines are triggered from blue light exposure being omitted from electronic devices, limit the amount of time you spend using these devices.
- Use Essential Oils and Heat
Essential oils for headaches include peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus. These can be applied to the painful side of the head, neck and elsewhere to soothe tension and stress.
- Ice Massage
You can also numb the pain with an ice pack applied to the upper back or back of the neck for about 15 minutes at a time. Avoid placing the ice pack constantly in one area, rather move the ice pack in circles.
Migraine headaches at times have a debilitating effect but little changes in the way we live and some simple home remedies can put a stop to it.
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Physician, Public Health Specialist