Take simple and effective steps to prevent or relieve unbearable pain. We tell you what urgent measures can be taken and how lifestyle changes can reduce the number of seizures.
It is believed that migraine causes as much pain as a serious injury, with only one difference: healthy habits and simple non-medical means can sometimes prevent the occurrence of migraines before it begins. Medications can also be effective, but they do only part of the job. It is equally important to take care of yourself and your body. This will help to avoid intense pain. Combining medications with behavioral measures and lifestyle can often be the most effective way to deal with migraines, as healthy habits can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
How can you fight migraines?
Find a quiet environment and relax
At the first sign of a migraine, take a break and take a break from what you are doing, if possible. Take a short break from work or household chores. Turn off the gadgets. Get some sleep if you can, or just rest and calm down in silence.
Turn off the lights or draw the curtains
Migraines often increase sensitivity to light and sound. Relax in a dark, quiet room. Observe a comfortable thermal regime that will help you relax.
Drink something containing caffeine
In small amounts, caffeine can relieve the pain of migraines in the early stages or enhance the analgesic effect of acetaminophen and aspirin. However, be careful. Too frequent consumption of large amounts of caffeine can subsequently lead to withdrawal headaches. So use this method only in non-alternative situations. Also keep in mind that drinking caffeine at the end of the day can disrupt your sleep, which can also trigger migraines.
Apply hot or cold compresses to the head or neck. Ice packs will give an analgesic effect that can dull the pain. Hot compresses and hot water bottles can relax tense muscles, a warm shower or bath can have a similar effect.
You may have heard that during physical activity, the body releases chemicals that block pain signals in the brain. They also help reduce anxiety and depression — two conditions that can worsen migraines. Obesity is also considered a risk factor, so maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and diet can provide bonuses in the treatment of migraines. Walking, swimming and cycling are all suitable, except for too vigorous exercises that can provoke migraines.
Monitor the quality of sleep
Migraines can prevent you from falling asleep or wake you up at night. On the other hand, seizures are often caused by poor quality night sleep. Therefore, it is important to establish a clear daily routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends. Keep in mind that daytime sleep lasting more than 20-30 minutes can interfere with nighttime sleep. Start relaxing an hour or two before going to bed: at this point, avoid heavy food, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, gadgets and too bright lights – it’s better to take a warm bath or listen to calm music. Minimize distractions, ventilate the room and arrange your sleeping place as comfortably as possible.
Adjust the nutrition regime necessary for the body
Eat at about the same time every day. Do not skip meals, as fasting increases the risk of migraines. Keep a food diary to keep track of foods that can provoke migraines and avoid them in the future (often they turn out to be aged cheese, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol).
Check the side effects of your medications
Medications containing caffeine or other stimulants, including some migraine medications, can interfere with sleep. Check the instructions if you can’t figure out why you don’t sleep well and wake up with headaches.
Measures related to thinking
Strive for emotional balance
Life with migraines may seem difficult, but in this situation it is worth abstracting from experiences. If you feel anxious or depressed, consider seeking counseling from a psychologist or joining a support group. Believe in your ability to control pain and strive for emotional balance.
Try to avoid stress
Stress and migraines often go hand in hand. You can’t avoid daily stress, but you can keep it under control to deal with migraines. Follow simple rules: do not strive to do everything in the world and do everything perfectly, plan work and household chores, delegate what you can, and take the time to take care of yourself. Often a simple walk or doing your favorite hobby for at least a quarter of an hour will help you recover. Relax and try not to be nervous. Try to see everything that seems impossible to you as difficult, but feasible.
Keep a migraine diary
It will help you identify the triggers that cause migraines. Note when you started having a headache, what you did at that time or before, what you ate and drank, how long the pain lasts and what brings relief. Until recently, it was thought best to avoid migraine triggers, but a new study suggests this may increase sensitivity to potential triggers. Train your brain and body by gradually becoming familiar with headache triggers and learning how to deal with them using behavior management techniques. These can include identifying and eliminating negative thoughts, relaxation training, and stress reduction. More research is needed to understand how much more effective this approach is, but a pain diary can also show if it works for you.