Migraines headaches can be downright debilitating. And unfortunately, many times there is no method to their madness; they just show up out of the blue, effectively putting an end to whatever it was you had planned that day. Many migraine sufferers have a difficult time even holding down a job, taking care of their children, or meeting their responsibilities. Here are three tips for managing your migraines.
Identify Your Person Triggers
Some women notice their migraines are more likely to rear their ugly head right before their menstrual cycle begins. Other women report an increase during pregnancy. Weather changes, such as a charge in the barometric pressure, can trigger a migraine. Fluorescent lights in grocery stores and office buildings as well as staring at a computer screen all day can also bring a migraine on in some people.
Keep a Food Diary
In addition to hormonal and environmental triggers, the things you consume can be a trigger. Convenience foods, sauces, spice mixtures, and marinades are often laced with a "flavor enhancer" known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). Some people are so sensitive to this chemical, it triggers a migraine almost instantly. Nitrates and nitrites are used in processed and cured meats. Deli lunch meat, hot dogs, sausages, and bacon almost always contain these preservatives, and it's not uncommon for them to be a migraine trigger. Sulfites, such as those found in red wines, are another trigger.
By keeping a food diary, you can begin to identify what your triggers are. Once you decipher the mystery, you can take proactive steps like reading ingredient labels and making better dietary choices. A magnesium deficiency can also be an underlying reason for migraines, so be sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet. Most tree nuts, the ancient Aztecan grain quinoa, avocados, bananas, berries, and dark chocolate are all high in magnesium.
Anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation can all trigger a migraine. Even the anxiety that comes with worrying about when your next migraine will come can trigger one. Develop stress management techniques that will reduce your anxiety. This may be prayer, meditation, exercise, massages, seeing a therapist, or any other activities that allow you to relax. Unplugging from the external stimuli of your electronics can also help tremendously. Speak with your physician if you find yourself unable to effectively manage your stress.
If you notice any unusual symptoms with your migraines, such as tingling in your limbs, numbness, double-vision, or nausea, or you believe you are experiencing your first one, be sure to head to your local walk-in clinic to ensure it's nothing more serious.