Manage your migraines by changing your lifestyle. Here are 20 tips on eating healthy, reducing stress, and finding the right migraine management tactic. Change your life, one step at a time!
- Mind your blood sugar. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common migraine trigger. Avoid eating sugary foods, as that will cause your blood sugar to rise temporarily, before dipping back to abnormally low levels again. Opt instead for foods that have natural sugar and dietary fiber.
- Keep things fresh. Cook your meals using fresh fruits and vegetables over canned or freeze-dried. Frozen veggies, however, are okay- they have the same healthy nutrients as the broccoli and carrots on the fresh produce aisle.
- Avoid phony baloneys. Cut artificial sweeteners and food colorings out of your diet, or at least reduce your consumption of artificially flavored treats, such as diet soda, candy, and Cheetos. Often, foods containing synthetic ingredients cause allergic reactions or headaches.
- Don’t go trigger-happy. Avoid the temptation to indulge in foods that you know for a fact trigger migraine headaches; think about the aftereffects, instead. Invest in a good migraine cookbook.
- Take notes. Unsure about potential headache triggers? Invest in a migraine journal- studies show that keeping track of your eating habits, feelings, and environment in a headache diary is instrumental in diagnosing migraine triggers.
- Take your meds. Stay on top of your migraine medications, and renew your prescriptions on time- all the better to avoid an unnecessary trip to ER.
- Think fast. Feel a headache coming on, but you’re not sure? Don’t wait for a full-blown migraine attack to ruin your day. If you get a migraine aura, respond accordingly.
- Think ahead. Whether you’re going on a 3-day vacation or just a long drive to the city, be prepared for the possibility of a migraine; carry a migraineur’s first-aid kit, map out nearest pharmacies and ERs, and make your backup plan before going out the door.
- Eat frequently. Let’s face it- migraines are not flexible. Any fluctuations in your eating habits will likely result in crippling head pain. Eat small healthy meals throughout the day, and don’t let more than three hours lapse between snacks.
- Sleep tight. Changes in your sleeping habits are also common migraine attack triggers. Migraine sufferers who take naps in the middle of the day or sleep in on their day off usually wake up with a head pounding “weekend headache.” Adhere to a strict sleep schedule by waking up at the same time each morning, and going to sleep at the same time at night. Don’t take a catnap, and don’t change your sleeping hours when on vacation.
- Lose a couple. Try to keep your weight down to a healthy level through diet and exercise. Studies show a correlation between obesity and migraine.
- Keep fit. Exercise improves the mood, regulates your cardiovascular system, keeps blood flowing smoothly, prevents chronic illness, and fights depression. Some excellent activities for migraine sufferers and other patients of chronic pain are yoga, tai chi, spinning, and light aerobics.
- Gain a new perspective. Keeping your hopes up, thinking positive, and not taking life too seriously are all traits that are common among people who eventually overcome their chronic illness symptoms.
- Take a break. Schedule some time just for yourself, and use it doing something you love that puts you in a good mood. Take a ceramics painting class, treat yourself to a relaxing massage or aromatherapy session, or just lose yourself in a used books store. It’s a great way to alleviate stress, rejuvenate, and collect your thoughts.
- Say ohm. Learn how to calm your mind through meditative exercises, such as Hatha yoga and progressive relaxation. Meditation takes practice at first, but eventually you will learn how to slow your breathing, transport yourself mentally, and find your inner peace.
- Try going dairy-free, just once. Sometimes, people suffer from allergic reactions to lactose for years without even knowing it. Lactose intolerant individuals often suffer migraine-like head pain that disappears once they cut dairy products from their diet. Try it for a week, and see what happens.
- Manage stress. Stress is the leading trigger of migraine headaches, in addition to innumerable other chronic illnesses. Avoid stressful situations whenever you can, practice healthy stress-relieving tactics, and learn how to cope with the stress in your life that just won’t go away.
- Stay connected. Millions of Americans suffer from migraine illness, so there’s no reason to suffer alone. Find out about any neighborhood migraine clinics or meetings. Check the internet for migraine forums, migraineur blogs, and “migraine awareness” advocacy sites like the American Headache Society.
- Educate yourself. Scientists make breakthroughs in migraine cures and headache remedies every year. Stay informed about your current migraine treatments, including side effects and dosage information.
- Open your mind to nature. Conventional migraine medications aren’t 100% effective, or without risks. Many like Topamax cause side effects such as brain fog and memory loss. Some popular natural ingredients for for migraines include herbs such as butterbur extracts and vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin and magnesium.
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