If you are one of the 39 million Americans suffering from migraines, you may wonder if there is anything that you can do that doesn’t involve reaching for a pill bottle. The good news is that there are natural ways to get help for migraines. There are even some lifestyle changes you can make to provide yourself with some self-care at home. We will start by discussing these lifestyle adjustments that can reduce the frequency of migraines. Then we will consider a natural therapy that has been helping many patients.
Migraine Improvement Through Lifestyle Changes
Here are a number of things you can do at home to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines:
- Use positive stress coping mechanisms – Stress is one of the main triggers of migraines. However, many people try to deal with stress through negative means such as cigarettes or alcohol, both of which can increase the frequency of migraines. You need to find positive ways to manage stress.
- Don’t sleep in – Changes to your sleep pattern can trigger migraines, so it is important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. That includes when you have a day off. So you may have to avoid sleeping in on weekends or holidays. This may seem like a chore at first, but you will be surprised what you can accomplish during those early morning hours around the house. Then you may find that you enjoy your days off even more.
- Avoid fasting – There are many fads in dieting, but for a person with migraines, fasting shouldn’t be on your list. Skipping even one meal may be what triggers your next attack. This also applies to people who get busy at work and don’t take lunch. You can eat at your desk if you have to but missing a meal today may lead to missing a whole day of work tomorrow.
- Watch your medication use – If you have to change a prescription medication talk to your doctor first. But when it comes to over-the-counter meds that a person may take for migraines, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Taking OTC pain relievers too often can cause rebound headaches and turn those occasional migraines into a chronic or even daily disorder.
- Use good posture – Whether you are in the car, at the office, or relaxing in the evening, you should pay attention to your posture. An often-overlooked area when it comes to migraines is the neck. However, as many as 75% of migraine sufferers get neck pain. So there is a clear connection between spinal health and migraine occurrence.
- Avoid sensory overstimulation – Wear earplugs if you have to be around loud repetitive noises. Use sunglasses when outdoors and either avoid looking at screens for too long or wear glasses with a coating that cuts down on the glare. Don’t use a lot of perfumes or colognes, and switch your cleaners at home to natural products. These are just a few tips for avoiding sensory overstimulation, which can trigger a migraine.
- Prevent bruxism – Grinding your teeth (bruxism) can lead to migraines. This is often related to stress and may occur while you sleep. Thus, the best way to avoid the problem is to have your dentist craft a custom-fit mouthguard for you to wear while you sleep (the one-size fits all ones in the pharmacy are rarely effective).
- Try an exclusion diet – If you are eating foods you have a sensitivity to, this can be triggering migraines. An exclusion diet involves cutting all of the normal triggers out of your diet (things like dairy, gluten, etc.) and then gradually adding them back in one at a time to see if your health declines when you start eating a particular food again. If you do find you are sensitive to a certain food, now is the time to cut it out of your diet.
These are some great ways to cut back on migraines without any outside assistance. You may need to start a migraine journal to learn what your triggers are, that way you won’t have to make all of the adjustments on this list. For example, if you find your primary triggers are stress and missing meals, then those two lifestyle changes are the only ones you have to make.
We would also like to introduce you to a natural therapy that has helped a number of migraine patients in case studies and at practices around the world. It is called upper cervical chiropractic care.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Migraines
When the top bone in the neck (the atlas) is out of alignment, it can affect the central nervous system negatively and lead to migraines. Just a few ways this occurs is that a misaligned atlas affects blood flow to the brain, cerebrospinal fluid drainage, and proper brainstem function. So how can you find natural relief from such a subluxation and get control over your migraines?
Upper cervical chiropractors are subspecialists in the chiropractic field who focus on the atlas. Using gentle and precise adjustment methods (no popping or twisting motions), proper atlas alignment can be restored safely and effectively. For many of our migraine patients, this has meant fewer attacks. Some are even completely migraine-free.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with a practitioner in your area. You may be a simple adjustment away from better central nervous system function and improved overall health.
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