A migraine is not just a bad headache. This neurological disease can cause unbearable throbbing pain that can last for days! Light, loud noises, smell and other triggers may cause symptoms such as pulsing pain, tiredness, nausea and vomiting, numbness and tingling, irritability, difficulty reading or speaking, visual disturbances and many more.
Some Common Migraine Triggers Include:
Stress, particularly emotional stress is one of the most common triggers of migraines. During stressful situations, certain chemicals in the brain are released to cope with the situation. The release of these chemicals can bring on a migraine.
Food and Drinks
There is a laundry list of food and drinks that can trigger a migraine. The most common are alcohol, especially beer and red wine, aged cheese, chocolate, cured meets, foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and nitrites.
Changes in Weather
Some weather related migraine triggers include excessive heat, storm fronts, changes in barometric pressure, altitude, and strong winds. Moreover, heat and high humidity can easily cause dehydration, another common trigger.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep renews and restores all parts of the body, including the brain. So when your sleep schedule goes haywire, you’re more likely to get a migraine attack. As per the American Migraine Foundation, nearly 50% of all migraine attacks occur between 4am and 9am.
Close to 75% of women complain of a migraine attack during their menstrual periods due to a change in estrogen and progesterone levels. Hormonal changes may also occur due to birth control pills.
How To Prevent Migraine Headaches
- Taking an active role in managing your migraine triggers can reduce migraine attacks and their severity in case of one.
- Learn to manage stress by making a note of things that cause you undue stress and then work towards reducing such triggers. Use relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and exercise.
- Eliminate foods that trigger your migraine and eat at regular intervals. Drink plenty of water and avoid skipping meals.
- Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Go to bed at the same time every night and avoid using your phone at least an hour before hitting the bed.
- Exercise regularly, stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Make sure you get plenty of rest.
- Consider getting therapy for maintaining your stress. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral.
When you’re in the thick of your migraine pain and need quick relief, your doctor may suggest these medications.
1. Acute Migraine Medications
Pain relievers: Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines often work well. The main ingredients include acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine and ibuprofen. Be cautious when you take OTC drugs because they can also make the headache worse. Using them too often can cause rebound headaches. If you use OTC pain meds more than 2 days in a row, talk to your doctor about prescription medications that may work better.
2. Preventative Migraine Medications
OnabotulinumtoxinA, better known as botox, was approved in 2010 for adults suffering with chronic migraine headaches. A chronic migraine patient will have a history of migraine headaches and headaches on most days (at least 15) of the month that last 4 hours a day or longer.
Remember, everyone’s experience with migraine is different. Talk to your doctor about your triggers—it will help them give you a proper diagnosis and start a treatment plan that works best for you.
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