Migraines: Simple Steps to Head off the Pain
Healthy habits and simple non-medical remedies stop migraines before they start.
When a migraine strikes, it can be crippling. Intense and sharp pain not only at the temples, but radiating throughout the entire head, feelings of nausea and digestive discontent, an unbearable aversion to light, sound, and even the smallest of movements.
Instead of succumbing to the incredible pain of migraines, you can get through your day with the right relief. If you have migraines, talk to your primary-care physician or a migraine specialist to create a treatment plan that incorporates the following strategies.
1. Find your triggers.
Migraines can be brought on by everything from aged cheese to red wine to weather (particularly hot or stormy days, or when the barometric pressure changes) to certain scents, like those of cleaning supplies and perfume. What’s more, the “migraine brain” is hypersensitive, so irregular sleep or eating, as well as episodes of stress, can be bad news. To pinpoint your triggers so you can try to avoid them, keep a diary or use a tracking app like “Migraine Buddy”. Tracking made me realize I often reach for an ice pack during thunderstorms, and once I knew that, my doctor prescribed an altitude-sickness medication that, to my surprise, eased my reaction.
2. Adjust your lifestyle.
A recent study found that maintaining good sleep, exercise, eating, and hydration habits reduced migraine frequency by about 50 percent, and in a Swedish study, 40 minutes of exercise three times a week proved as effective as prescription medication at reducing migraine frequency. What’s more, three large meta-analyses found that people had a similar improvement when they practiced relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing, as when they took a preventive drug. Try this easy trick to stay well-hydrated: carrying a to-go cup with a straw instead of a traditional water bottle. It turns out that one can drink more when there’s no cap to unscrew.
3. Add magnesium to your diet
Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches and migraines. Studies show magnesium oxide supplementation helps prevent migraines with aura. It may also prevent menstrual-related migraines. You can get magnesium from foods that include:
4. Cutting on Caffeine:
If you regularly consume large amounts of caffeine, you set yourself up for withdrawal headaches, which can stimulate your brain's migraine center and turn into migraines. Limit intake to 200 mg a day—that's roughly one 8-ounce cup of coffee.
5. Apply lavender oil
Inhaling lavender essential oil may ease migraine pain. According to 2012 research, people who inhaled lavender oil during a migraine attack for 15 minutes experienced faster relief than those who inhaled a placebo. Lavender oil may be inhaled directly or applied diluted to the temples.
6. Drink grape juice
Though you probably haven't sipped grape juice in years aside from "adult" grape juice, that is, it's the perfect go-to remedy when a migraine strikes. Grapes are an excellent pain reliever. Take a drink of all-natural grape juice, or create your own at home to find relief. Blend fresh, ripe grapes with a bit of water, and you'll drink your discomfort away.
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