If you get migraines on a regular basis, then your first line of defense has to be learning your triggers and avoiding them as best you can. While you can’t avoid all of the triggers on our list, we will give you some tips on how to manage them. Then we will conclude with a natural way to find long-term relief from migraines,
#1 Stress – The Number One Trigger
In some studies, as much as 70% of the responders say that stress is the primary trigger for their migraines. Stress is a tricky trigger because it seems to be related to hormone levels. The body produces cortisol in response to stressful situations so that you can cope. But when hormone levels spike for stress, or even when they drop rapidly following the end of a stressful situation, you can get a migraine. So stress can get you both coming and going.
Managing stress involves getting rid of unnecessary causes of stress from your life. It also means having positive coping mechanisms for when stressful things happen during the day or when stress has built up over several days or weeks. This can mean everything from taking up stretching and meditation to going on a short vacation every once in a while to reset.
#2 Sleep Schedule Changes
Sleep plays a key role in migraine occurrence or avoidance. If something throws off your sleep schedule, a migraine may throw off your schedule while you are awake during the next day or two. To maintain a healthy sleep schedule, be sure to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Make sure that you have the right environment for sleep, even if that means leaving your phone out of reach at night.
#3 Hormone Fluctuations
We’ve already discussed the way stress hormones affect migraines, but now we want to discuss the fluctuations in female hormones that may be behind why women with migraines outnumber men three to one. You may not be able to control migraines as well during pregnancy or menopause, but migraines due to your monthly hormone fluctuations may get better with proper diet and exercise or even the right balance of birth control hormones to stabilize your cycle.
#4 Overuse of Alcohol or Caffeine
We say overuse because most people can handle moderate intake of alcohol or caffeine without getting a migraine. If you find that you have no tolerance, then you may have to eliminate one or both from your diet. Also, some patients find that a little caffeine can keep migraines at bay or even stop a migraine that is in the early stages. This may be due to the fact that caffeine can improve circulation temporarily, and blood flow to the brain is a factor in migraine occurrence.
#5 Weather Changes
Some people get a migraine any time there is a sudden weather change. It may be temperature swings, humidity levels, barometric pressure, and the like. Others find that nearby lightning strikes are a trigger. While you can’t change the weather, you can plan on staying indoors when conditions are disposed to cause a migraine. It is easier to control the temperature and humidity levels in a home with the doors and windows closed.
A headache can be an early symptom of dehydration, and for migraineurs, this can mean a full-blown migraine. Therefore, it is important to maintain proper water intake, especially if you live in a hot and dry environment, are on a low-sodium diet, or you take diuretics. There are lots of free apps that can help you track your water intake or even remind you when it is time to drink the next glass. Remember that colas, coffee, and tea can actually dry you out more. If dehydration is your problem, water is the solution.
#7 Strong Smells
Migraineurs often have sensory sensitivities during an attack. Strong smells, however, can also be a trigger. Avoid using perfumes or colognes in your home that contain strong smells. Try switching to unscented cleaners and detergents.
#8 Bright Lights or Glare
Once again, this is connected to sensory sensitivities. Be sure to bring your sunglasses when you leave the house. If you work at a computer, wear glasses with a coating to relieve the glare. The good news is that this is now available as a clear coating rather than the strange yellow tint that caused most people to avoid it in the past.
#9 Medication Overuse
If you are taking over-the-counter (or even some prescription) pills for your migraines 10 or more times per month, your headaches may be due to medication overuse. Speak to your doctor before changing your prescription medication use, but you can stop OTC meds on your own to see if migraines become less frequent.
Natural Relief from Migraines Is Possible
Besides managing your triggers, upper cervical chiropractic can help you to find long-term relief from migraines. This subspecialty of chiropractic involves precise measurements of the C1 and C2 vertebrae and gentle adjustments to correct this underlying problem. As a result, brainstem function can be optimized and blood flow to the brain is improved. For some migraine patients, it brings significant relief or even an end to migraines.
To learn more about how the neck and migraines are connected, contact an upper cervical chiropractor in your area for a no-obligation consultation. You may find that genuine relief is just a few gentle adjustments away.