Migraines are the worst. Many are triggered by stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and too much time working on the computer. For anyone out there who has ever had a migraine, you know just how debilitating it can be. Persistent pain, sleeplessness, and the inability to do anything about it. A migraine can last anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and the pain can be so intense, you have to stay in a dark room with your eyes closed to relieve it. The other relief is getting sleep, but the pain is often so bad, you can’t fall asleep even if you wanted to, which further aggravates the migraine. It’s a viscous cycle! The worst part is there is no cure or definitive way to prevent one. Here are a few things you can do that can help alleviate migraines:
Ice or Warm Pack
Both warm and cold packs placed on the area of the migraine can help alleviate the pain. It’s best to apply these with a small amount of pressure by applying a cosmetic or sweat band to secure it. A bag of peas or a hot towel will do if you have nothing else. Otherwise you can buy microwavable packs specifically made for migraines.
This is an obvious one, as alcohol breaks down your healthy cells and dehydrates you. Never drink any alcohol if you have a migraine -and that includes that daily glass of red wine!
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Migraines can be triggered by dehydration, so loading up on liquids is very important to alleviating the pain. If you get tired of water, try fresh pressed juice or coconut water for more electrolytes and flavor. Pedialyte is also excellent for rehydrating your body quickly. However, not all liquids are created equal: avoid soda and sugary beverages. You can have your daily cup of joe (caffeine can actually help headaches), but don’t go overboard and be sure to balance your coffee with plenty of water.
Keep a Journal
Migraines are usually triggered by something; it can be a food, drink, lighting or a stressful event. Keep track of your daily activities so you can target what is causing the problem. By having insight to what could be triggering your migraines, you can find ways to mitigate the problem.
Avoid Bright Screens & Lights
Computer, television, tablet, and any other bright screens should be avoided when you have a migraine. The rays from the screens are known to cause migraines often related to eye strain. So, you’re going to have to forget about that Netflix marathon! Overhead fluorescent lighting is also bad for migraines, so if you absolutely must work or be in a lit environment, use floor lamps with soft lighting instead.
Relax & De-Stress
Because stress is often a culprit to triggering migraines, do your best to destress. Go for a low impact walk, meditate, do some yoga stretches, or take a warm bath with candles. Just make sure whatever you do is low impact and try not to sweat too much as this causes you to lose more water. Also, we know steam rooms and saunas are relaxing, but they should also be avoided as they also dehydrate your body.
Darkness & Sleep
We know lying in a dark room with your eyes closed sounds like the most boring thing ever. Of course it would be nice to fall asleep, but with a pounding headache that is often difficult. So, if you can’t fall asleep, lie in darkness and meditate. Meditation helps take your mind off the pain, it reduces stress, and you may even fall asleep.
Get Your Hormones Checked
A potential cause of migraines are hormonal changes and imbalances. Getting blood work done to check your hormone levels can help discover a potential hormonal imbalance. Also, keep in mind a change in birth control can also trigger migraines, so if you’re on a new hormonal type of birth control, it could be the problem.
If you’ve tried everything to relieve your migraines to no avail, you may want to consider getting Botox. Yes, you heard that right. If you get 15 or more headache days a month, lasting 4 hours or more, Botox may help relieve your chronic migraines. Of course, it doesn’t come without some side effects, but it could be worth it if your migraines have become debilitating. You can go here for more info.