By: Justin Hill
No one wants a migraine.
They can be quite painful, tough, and nasty depending on the level of intensity. In fact, according to MayoClinic, migraines can be similar in pain to a physical injury.
Just because migraines are painful doesn’t mean you can’t manage or diminish that pain. Below are some preventive measures you can use to help diminish some of the pain.
What is a Migraine?
First off, what constitutes a migraine – that is, what is it actually? Healthgrades does a great job of defining what a migraine is. To sum up:
It’s a neurological disease; and chronic migraines are physiological, not psychological. They are connected to your body functions, not by problems associated with the mind. A migraine is not just a bad headache. It’s a gathering of neurological symptoms that can induce “headache, changes in vision, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, touch and smell.”
A migraine is nothing to be trifled with. It can cause a lot of pain. However, depending on the individual, the severity and particular symptoms may differ. In fact, American Family Physician (AFFP) breaks down the various symptoms that you may or may not experience with a migraine:
In addition, AFFP states that migraines can last anywhere from three hours to three days. And they can come on a couple times a year or potentially daily. It is also important to know that a migraine is not a headache.
People often state that they are having a migraine when they have a bad headache, but that may not be correct. In fact, according to Psychology Today, most people don’t realize the difference between the two.
It’s important to know that a migraine is much more chronic and painful than a typical headache, severe or otherwise.
Now that you know what a migraine is, it’s time to go over some strategies to help manage migraines.
Manageable Measures for Migraines
The best thing to do is prevent a migraine before it even hits. However, if you can’t prevent a migraine, the following measures can be helpful in managing a migraine.
Exercise is a great way to release certain chemicals into your body that can block pain signals to the brain. Exercise can diminish things like stress, anxiety, and depression, which, according to Mayo Clinic, can actually exacerbate migraines.
Try to find exercise you enjoy that doesn’t end up becoming a chore or treated like daunting work. Below are some examples:
Remember to start slow. Build up to a comfortable pace while concentrating on pushing beyond your normal threshold, as pushing it too hard can potentially trigger a migraine.
Watch Your Stress
Stress can potentially onset a migraine. Overly stressing in general isn’t a good thing – it can actually lead to lots of negative potentials, not just a migraine.
So, it’s a good idea to do what you can to manage and diminish stress. The following are some ideas to reduce your stress levels:
While some say small amounts of caffeine can help, healthgrades claims that caffeine withdrawal can lead to withdrawal headaches.
My advice: gauge caffeine intake. If it helps, take it in small doses. If not, try to avoid it at all costs.
Make sure the lights are low, off, or adjusted on computer screens, tablets, and smart phones so the blue light doesn’t affect you as much.
A poor night’s rest isn’t fun for anyone. By getting a handle on your sleep schedule, you not only diminish the possibility of a migraine, you increase your mental health and physical well-being overall. By not getting a good night’s rest, you actually can trigger migraines.
Medication can, at times, be effective. However, the best advice I can give in terms of medication is seek out a doctor or professional assistance when it comes to the realm of medication usage.
Get a professional opinion from a specialist trained in dealing with migraines, especially if the above things don’t seem to work. It may be experimental at first, and some of the treatments provided may not work initially. But with patience and practice, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication that proves to be helpful.
While Migraines can hit hard and potentially last long, the ideas in here are meant to help. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
As promised, below are some resources and further reading.
Each goes into more depth on the issues dealing with migraines, their potential prevention, and ways to cope with them.
After the Session is an supplemental educational blog dealing with various psychology, counseling, and self-development topics.
To begin with, either scroll through the list on the left, or click into one of the archived months or categories below.