Symptoms of migraines differ between individuals and so do their triggers. For those experiencing these serious headaches, it is important to know what brings them on. A good way to figure this out is by tracking migraines and recording what took place just before they struck. Including things like what was eaten, how much sleep occurred the night before, and if any significant stress or important event happened allows people to examine patterns and adjust habits.
10. Eating Habits
One of the most important things to do surrounding the food eaten is to maintain a balanced diet and consume three nutritious meals per day. A person suffering migraines should never skip meals, especially if low blood sugar or lack of nutrients is a headache trigger. Monitoring what one eats and if he or she gets a headache afterward is an effective way of documenting a pattern and staying away from the offending foods.
9. Cut Caffeine
Consuming too much caffeine leads to headaches for many people. It is a good idea to limit the amount of caffeine one takes in each day, especially for people prone to migraines. It can be a difficult habit to break and should be done gradually because going cold turkey may also cause serious headaches or migraines. Caffeine is in more than just coffee, so tea and some pops should be avoided, as well as food such as chocolate, protein bars, diet pills, and some gum and mints.
Exercise is beneficial in so many ways for everyone, but for some people, it is also a cause of headaches. It is not recommended to avoid physical activity entirely, but tailoring workouts to individual needs will help mitigate the need to lie in bed with a cold compress afterward. A doctor or physical therapist can assist in making a plan to include the right amount and type of activity to be included in a lifestyle for all-around health and well-being.
Getting adequate sleep is critical for minimizing the chance of spending the day with a headache. Even people who do not suffer regular migraines can be caught off-guard with a pounding head when they have a disrupted sleep for one night. When sleep habits are suddenly changed from what people are used to, it can create long-term fatigue. Being tired can trigger migraines, but it could also lead to stress, confusion, and lack of energy.
6. Stress Management
Too much stress has detrimental effects physically, emotionally, and mentally. These factors can bring on headaches on their own or in combination. It is best to create a plan to minimize stress as much as possible. Some ways of doing so include practicing relaxation through meditation, yoga, prayer, or reading. Other things to do to lessen the stress is to spend time with fun people or on enjoyable hobbies. Biofeedback can also be helpful for people to examine how their heart rate and breathing work.
5. Energy Levels
Part of a healthy diet includes hydration. Drinking plenty of water helps maintain energy levels and being dehydrated is an easy way to bring on a headache. A good way of ensuring enough water is taken in each day is by having a reusable bottle nearby and tracking how much is consumed. It might help to add flavors with slices of lemon, cucumber, or watermelon. At work, people can make a habit of getting a drink every time they walk past the water cooler.
4. Food To Avoid
Certain foods are known migraine triggers, and it is important to figure out which are the ones to avoid. Not all of the offenders will have the same effect on everyone. Some common triggers are foods containing tyramine, including cheese, soy, smoked fish, and Chianti wine. Other top causes are red wine, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, energy drinks, pepperoni, hot dogs, and lunch meats, bread and baking, dried fruits, potato chips, pizza, peanuts, and chicken livers.
3. Botulinum Toxin
Known for its use in treating wrinkles and enhancing physical appearances, this drug has been used to treat migraine sufferers. It is primarily reserved for people with chronic migraines occurring about fifteen times per month or more. These types of headaches, lasting for four hours per day or longer, are considered long-term headaches and are more serious than the average head-pounder. Botox could intercept communication between the brain and pain receptors.
This traditional Chinese medical treatment has been studied as an effective migraine treatment for some people. A study among participants receiving acupuncture on correct body points and those who were in a ‘sham group’ saw the proper treatment group continuing to report the benefits of fewer migraine days, less frequency of attacks, and lower intensity of headaches. The sham group did not have the same findings. Acupuncture may have greater effects the more often performed.
A head massage is a technique to promote relaxation, and it has also been recorded as a means of reducing headaches. A trained massage therapist will press and knead areas of the head to relieve pain. Experts suggest it works to release serotonin and inhibit pain signals on their way to the brain. A small study conducted in 2006 had a group of migraine sufferers take part in massage therapy, while others did not receive treatment. After the massage, participants improved sleep and fewer migraines.