Migraines could be very debilitating. I personally am a sufferer of this condition and it truly is one of the most painful experiences one can ever feel. A migraine often starts with an aura, and when this is felt, the sufferer already dreads the following hours to come as the pain is very hard to bear with. Analgesics rarely work when the migraine already starts; and often, even with these medicines, the headache still persists. There is no sure-ball way of treating a migraine, but there are ways that could be done to prevent it. In this article, I will share with you some of the ways to prevent and manage these attacks:
Migraines are all about triggers. Different people have different migraine triggers and it is very important to know what yours are. Observe yourself as to the food you eat, the environmental conditions you are in, and the activities you do and see how they affect you. Although these triggers vary across individuals, some of the most common are: stress, staying up late at night, monosodium glutamate, bright lights, tyramine-rich foods such as cheese, beer, red wine, aspartame, chocolates, hormonal contraceptives, and sudden temperature changes. Know your triggers and try to minimize exposure to them. Oh, as for me, MSG is one of my triggers. Will it trigger migraines for you too?
One very unique feature of migraines is they often have “auras”, wherein the sufferer will already know when an attack will occur. Auras also vary across individuals, like triggers. Observe yourself and the feelings you get before an attack occurs. It may be a weird smell, a sudden bad feeling, or it may be a “numb headache that is about to occur”, like me. It is very important to know your aura so you could do something before an attack occurs.
It is very important to get an adequate amount of sleep to prevent these attacks. Staying up late at night is often a migraine trigger. You would not want to get a headache just as you are about to sleep. You may never be able to sleep because of the pain. Exercise caution: sleep, but DO NOT oversleep.
Watch what you eat. As I have said, identify food triggers. A well-balanced diet, free of your personal triggers will be a huge help. If it means sacrificing MSG, then by all means, do it. Who would want to enjoy MSG-laden food for 30 minutes and then have an 8-hour attack afterwards? Also, keep a food diary to track your triggers.
Master the art of relaxation. Stress could be a migraine trigger and it pays if you know how to make yourself relax. The concept of relaxation varies; and what is relaxing for one may not be relaxing for another. Get in tune with your body and get to know what will make you feel uniquely relaxed. If you do have an attack, these techniques will greatly help in easing the pain and lessening the debilitation.
Clinical trials have proven that acupuncture may help in headache pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles in various “pressure points” that aim to activate natural pain-killing pathways of the body.
One of the best things you can do for a person having a migraine attack is massage. Massage reduces nociception (the ability to feel pain) by activating certain pathways to the brain and closing pain channels. It will be of great help if someone in your house knows reflexology. Also, try to get massages once in a while to help yourself relieve tension and stress.
A study suggests that drinking coffee once you feel an aura will be helpful in preventing it from becoming a full-blown attack. Caffeine causes vasoconstriction and this affects blood vessels in the brain. Over the counter tablets such as Excedrin contain acetaminophen and caffeine. These medications have this effect.
Vitamins and Herbs
Some vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin B-2 and Co-Enzyme Q10 help in management of migraines. Vitamin B-2 corrects tiny deficiencies in brain cells while co-enzyme q10 has been known to decrease the frequency of attacks. The herbs feverfew and butterbur might prevent migraines or reduce their severity, but these herbs must not be used during pregnancy.
If one cannot tolerate the migraine attacks, one could resort to the use of pharmaceutics. Medications such as triptans have been proven useful in management of attacks once they already occur. If you want to use this medications, consult your neurologist for proper prescription. Carry these drugs with you at all times as migraines occur at a sudden fashion.
A migraine could mean hell for the sufferer. It is very important to know yourself in order to manage this condition. The management of migraine greatly varies and the key is to be in tune with oneself as to one’s unique triggers and uniquely effective management strategies. A migraine is really painful and debilitating, but there is a lot that could be done to prevent it from ruining our day-to-day lives. Always remember, a migraine is not the end of your day. You are the master of your body, not that sick headache.
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