About 10% of people who suffer from migraines are dealing with chronic migraines. This means that you experience 15 or more days per month with migraine symptoms. Some people even get daily migraines. This can be an extremely debilitating condition and lead to an inability to work and even depression. How can you cope with this chronic health condition? Here are some tips to help you live your best life despite dealing with a life-changing ailment.
Know What Triggers Your Migraines
Migraine triggers can vary from person to person. You can use a migraine journal to track your personal triggers. If you want somewhere to start, some of the more common triggers include:
- Sensory overload – Strong smells, bright lights, repeating sounds, etc.
- Weather changes – Dramatic changes in temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and the like can all trigger migraines. Nearby lightning strikes have also been linked to migraines.
- Missed meals – Low blood sugar may trigger a migraine, so be sure to eat regularly throughout the day.
- Smoking – Nicotine can constrict blood vessels. Less blood reaching the brain, in turn, may trigger a migraine. The reduced blood flow can also cause problems in the neck, which we discuss later as a possible underlying source of migraines.
- Caffeine – We’re not going to tell you that you have to give up coffee. On the contrary, coffee may help with your migraines in limited amounts by improving blood flow. However, too much caffeine can be a migraine trigger, so you have to use moderation.
Find Positive Stress Coping Mechanisms
Stress can trigger migraines both coming and going. The problem is that migraines can be triggered by hormone fluctuations. Stress releases a flood of hormones when an anxiety-causing situation arises. Then those hormones rush away when the circumstances end and you are calm again. The key then is to regulate stress through positive coping mechanisms. A few things you may want to try include:
- A relaxing hobby – Whether you like to read, share in some type of artistic expression, or have always wanted to take up an instrument, now may be a perfect time.
- Relaxing essential oils – You can try using a diffuser to create a relaxing environment. Scents like lavender and peppermint are known to be soothing.
- Talk it out – Whether you have a trusted confidant or a professional therapist, sometimes talking about stresses and anxieties is the best way to cope.
- Exercise – Getting regular exercise creates feel-good hormones that keep the stress hormones at bay.
Control Your Sleep Schedule
Consistent sleep is important if you get regular migraines. Anything that throws off your sleep schedule may trigger the next attack. How can you control your sleep environment?
- Control lights and sounds – Most people sleep best in a room that is completely dark and quiet. If you prefer white noise, you can get a machine that creates soothing sounds or use something like a fan if you also prefer the cool air.
- Keep your schedule consistent – If you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, this helps train your body and results in better sleep. Don’t cheat on holidays or weekends if you want the maximum benefits.
- Avoid mobile device use in bed – Whether you have to charge your devices in another room or just use willpower, avoiding mobile device use in bed is important. The light from the screen may confuse the body into thinking it is still daytime, resulting in the body failing to produce sleep hormones at the right time.
Watch Your Medication Use
Over-the-counter pain medications are commonly taken for migraines, but if you get chronic migraines, this is a bad way to handle them. The fact is that the majority of these OTC pain relievers are not intended for frequent or long-term use. They can cause rebound headaches if not used in moderation. In fact, some patients with chronic migraines find that they get far fewer headaches if they just stop taking the pain meds altogether.
Try Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
In many case studies, patients who are experiencing migraines and an upper cervical misalignment, see a decrease in the frequency and severity of migraines once the misalignment is corrected. Upper cervical chiropractors are subspecialists in the chiropractic sector who specifically target the atlas and axis (the top two bones in the neck). Using gentle and low force corrections, they are able to restore proper balance to the head and neck. This can correct a number of underlying issues that may lead to migraines, including:
- Inhibited brainstem function
- Reduced flow of blood to the head
- Decreased cerebrospinal fluid drainage
It is no wonder that about 75% of migraine patients also experience neck pain either before or during an attack. Whether you have neck pain as a symptom or not, there could still be an upper cervical misalignment working below the surface to create the conditions that lead to migraines. If you would like to try this natural therapy, you can use the search feature on this site to locate a preferred doctor in your area.
A history of head or neck trauma would also make you a prime candidate for this form of care, although you can suffer an atlas misalignment due to repetitive motion injury, poor posture, or other forms of wear and tear. To learn more, schedule a no-obligation consultation today. You may be about to take your first step down the path to conquering migraines for good.