Over 39 million people in the US alone experience migraines. That makes this one of the most common ailments in the world. What if you have recently been diagnosed with migraines? Here are 7 tips to help you cope with migraines in a natural and effective way.
#1 Migraine Research
First of all, any time you receive a medical diagnosis, you should do some research to find out as much as you can on the topic. The Upper Cervical Awareness blog has an entire section with pages of articles on migraines. Knowing your enemy is a big part of the battle. Research can help make the condition less scary and can help you to deal with the stigma that often accompanies migraines.
#2 Find a Safe Stress Coping Mechanism
Stress is one of the primary triggers for migraines. You can’t avoid all stress so having positive coping mechanisms is the key. Avoid negative stress relievers such as smoking or overindulging in alcohol as these can make migraines worse. What are some positive ways to deal with stress?
- Exercise (more on that later)
- Talking out your anxieties
- Taking up a relaxing hobby
- Taking breaks during the day as needed or taking an occasional vacation
#3 Work on Your Sleep Schedule
Getting a good night’s sleep each night is important for migraineurs for a number of reasons. First of all, sleep helps the brain to cope with pain better. Second, lack of sleep can trigger a migraine attack. In order to sleep better, try having a regular schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Also, avoid habits that inhibit sleep such as using mobile devices in bed at night. Updating things like your pillow or mattress can also help you to sleep better if you have been using the same ones for many years and have worn them out.
#4 Eat Meals Regularly
Missing a meal is another common migraine trigger. As a result, you should be sure to schedule three meals per day, even when you are busy. Don’t skip breakfast to get out the door on time or, if you have to, grab something you can eat at your desk right when you get to work. The same is true for lunch. If you are too busy at work to eat lunch, you may be in too much pain to even go to work tomorrow.
#5 Get Off the OTC Pain Meds
Many people take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication without really reading the label or learning about how they work. While OTC pain meds (and even some prescription ones) can help relieve a painful headache, you can’t take most of these products on a regular basis. Rebound headaches occur from medication overuse. You may find that the frequency of your headaches decreases dramatically when you stop taking pain relievers for a week or two.
#6 Start an Exercise Routine
Exercise can benefit a migraineur in a number of ways. First of all, the feel-good hormones that are released when you work out can help your brain to cope with pain levels. Second, regular exercise is a good stress reliever, so it is a positive way to try and reduce how often you get migraines. Always be sure to consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine. If your headaches get worse with exertion, a common migraine headache symptom, be sure not to exercise during a migraine.
#7 Find an Upper Cervical Chiropractor
If you have never heard of this subspecialty of the chiropractic field, we are pleased to introduce you to this means of finding natural help for migraines and many other ailments that take place in the central nervous system (CNS). How is the upper cervical spine (top two bones in the neck) related to the CNS? Here are three ways.
- Blood flow – The cervical spine is responsible for the safe passage of blood and oxygen to the brain. This is performed by means of the vertebral foramen, tiny loops of bone attached to the vertebrae that provide a path for the vertebral arteries. Even a slight misalignment in the cervical spine can affect this blood flow.
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow – Upright MRIs have been able to detect that misalignments of the upper cervical spine inhibit proper cerebrospinal fluid drainage. This, in turn, can create intracranial pressure and lead to all sorts of issues for the central nervous system.
- Brainstem function – The C1 vertebra (also called the atlas), surrounds and protects the brainstem right at the critical juncture where it meets the spinal cord. Unfortunately, that means even a slight misalignment of the atlas can affect brainstem function.
Upper cervical chiropractic is based on a few principles that can help improve central nervous system function and potentially relieve migraines. First of all, it is focused on just the top bones in the neck. Because of this focus, attention to detail is possible, and precise measurements are taken. The precision, in turn, allows for very gentle adjustments that are both safe and long-lasting, giving the body the time it needs to heal.
If you are suffering from migraines, especially if you are experiencing neck pain either before or during an attack, upper cervical chiropractic care may be just the natural way to get migraine help that you have been searching for. To learn more, contact a practitioner in your area to schedule a no-obligation consultation.