Migraines are a very common problem, and if you suffer from them, you should never feel as if you are alone. As many as 39 million in the US and 1 billion worldwide have migraines. Women are affected 3 times more often than men, and migraines mostly impact those in the age range of 25 to 55. Doctors often order expensive testing to rule out other more serious conditions, but frequently they come back with no answers. Migraines are frustrating for patients to cope with and doctors to try to care for. It seems as if what works for one person does not work for another. It may even be that what works for one migraine may not work for the next in the same person.
Recent research has revealed that some consistent, positive lifestyle changes can actually reduce the number of migraines you may experience. Here are 10 such changes you may want to begin implementing right away if you have migraines.
10 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Migraines
- Keep a diary. The number one suggestion by migraine professionals is to keep a migraine diary. This will help you to understand better what is causing your migraines. You can download a free migraine diary at Migraine Buddy or other similar websites. Or, you can keep a traditional diary. You need to take on the role of a detective to find out what is causing your head pain and try to find out as much information as possible. Then, write it all down. Include what the weather was like, what activities you did, and anything else you did before a migraine hit. You may even begin to notice double or triple triggers you need to avoid.
- Don’t sleep in during the weekend or days off. Not getting enough sleep is a definite trigger for migraines but so is getting too much. Just changing your sleep pattern can be enough to trigger a migraine. It is important to have a regular sleep pattern where you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Also, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and night. This can go a long way to improving migraines.
- Watch what you eat. Certain foods are known to trigger migraines. Be cautious of the following foods:
- Red wine
- Citrus fruit
Many people automatically assume caffeine is a trigger, but the problem is more likely to be having less or more caffeine than normal. If you want to cut back on caffeine, do so gradually. If you have suspicions a particular food is causing your issues, try to cut it out for a few weeks and see if you notice an improvement. It may take a few attempts to really figure out what the problem is.
- Don’t fast. Some of the latest trends in dieting are to fast in order to lose weight. If you have migraines, you want to avoid doing this. It is important for you to keep your blood sugar as level as possible to avoid migraines. You must eat regular meals and a normal amount of food. A lack of food, as well as a drop in glucose levels, can both be responsible for migraines. Eating healthy is always a good idea.
- Keep it quiet. Loud noise has been known to trigger migraines. A good idea is to keep headphones or earplugs nearby when you are going to be in situations where there may be drilling, traffic, or loud music. By playing soft, soothing music you can counteract some of the noise going on around you and eliminate a migraine trigger.
- Wear your sunglasses. Bright and flashing light has been seen to be a trigger for some. If this is true for you, sunglasses may be just what you need. Even tinted or colored lenses may be helpful. In fact, there are glasses marketed especially for people suffering from migraines.
- Cut back on medication. Taking too many painkillers can lead to medication overuse headaches which are actually more painful than a migraine. The only way to help this is to cut out all pain medication.
- Go see your dentist. If your jaw is overworked, it can be impacting your migraines. You may even be grinding your teeth while you sleep and not be aware of it. Your dentist can let you know if this is the case and give you a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw.
- Change the position of your chair. Be careful to maintain good posture. Do not hunch over your desk. Your skeletal alignment is a big factor in migraines. Extra pressure on your neck from bad posture may be a trigger. You may just need to lower your seat a little.
- Don’t stress. Too much stress is not good. However, there is something called a let-down migraine that hits after a stressful event is over. Try to breathe slowly and practice stress relief activities.
Find Natural Help for Migraines
Upper cervical chiropractors have much success in caring for patients with migraines. We address the misalignments that may be present in the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the top bones of the neck. If these bones are misaligned, they may be blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and blood to and from the brain. By using a gentle method to encourage these bones to move back into place, without the need to pop or crack the neck, many have seen a great improvement in their migraines, sometimes in as few as a couple of adjustments.
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