Migraines cause multiple symptoms that can affect our daily lives. Migraines are a prevalent neurological disease that can affect both men and women, young or old. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 85% of migraine sufferers are women.
When paired with other conditions– migraines and pregnancy, for example– they can make performing even the most minuscule task a challenge. As established before, migraines can potentially decrease an individual’s quality of life. Fortunately, migraines can be avoided before they ever occur with some changes in your diet and lifestyle.
But first, let’s learn more about them to understand better how we can correct the root cause of migraines.
What Causes Migraines?
Migraines can begin anywhere from childhood and manifest in the individual during adolescence. This neurological condition can be set off by what is called a migraine trigger. Many things can cause a migraine to happen.
For women, one of the most common migraine triggers is fluctuating hormone levels. Migraines and pregnancy might be a challenging pair for a woman. Pregnant women that experience migraines usually get them during the first trimester. This is the time when the levels of the hormone estrogen haven’t yet stabilized. Other factors that cause migraines may include the following:
- family history
- strong smells
- loud noises
- bright lights
- sleeping issues
- weather changes
- poor posture
What Symptoms Are Associated with Migraines?
Migraines, also called cephalalgia, are characterized by severe, debilitating headaches. The pain may be concentrated to one side of the head, accompanied by a pulsating or throbbing sensation. Some migraine symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sensory disruptions or sensitivity to light and sound.
Men and women may experience migraines differently. Women are two or three more times more susceptible to migraines than men. As mentioned earlier, the fluctuation of the levels of estrogen is one main cause of migraines in women. This means that women can experience migraines in relation to their menstrual periods. For expecting women, migraines and pregnancy can go hand-in-hand. For men, a painful migraine can increase the chances of a heart attack and stroke.
What Are the Warning Signs for Migraines?
Migraine attacks can occur up to several times in one day. Migraine symptoms usually begin slowly, build up over several minutes, and last for 10 to 60 minutes. Learning the different warning signs of migraines can help you act before they occur. Some of the warning signs include the following:
- food cravings
- change in mood
- increased thirst and urination
- a shift in energy or activity levels
- seeing ‘auras’ or visual disturbances
- numbness or a tingling sensation on the arm, hand, and face
- neck stiffness
- difficulty focusing
How Can You Prevent Migraines from Happening?
Keeping Yourself Hydrated
Dehydration can lead to adverse effects on the body. When some people neglect to drink enough water, they tend to experience headaches and migraines. Keeping the body hydrated can definitely help prevent migraines from happening. You need to replenish the water your body loses through sweat.
A good rule-of-thumb about knowing how much water to consume is by taking your weight in pounds, halving that amount, and drinking an ounce of water for each pound. In short, if you weigh 160 pounds, you have to drink at least 80 ounces of water, which is around 2.4 liters, every day.
Avoiding Smoking and Alcoholic Consumption
Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages can cause a myriad of problems for our health. The nicotine in cigarettes can constrict the blood vessels. As a result, this affects blood circulation containing the much-needed nutrients and oxygen for the body.
Alcoholic beverages are known to cause dehydration. Both of these activities can lead to migraines. Hence, stopping or even limiting yourself from smoking and drinking alcohol can do wonders for your migraine.
Paying Attention to What You Eat
Some foods can trigger migraines. Avoiding such food can help lessen the intensity of your headaches or even the number of times your migraines attack. Processed foods and foods with additives can sometimes cause severe headaches to an individual. Other food items that can trigger your migraines include the following:
- dairy products
- citrus fruits
- some foods with caffeine
- monosodium glutamate
Besides knowing which food to avoid, keep in mind that knowing when to eat is equally important. To get rid of migraines, eat regularly and avoid skipping meals.
Getting Enough Sleep and Rest
According to a study, getting enough sleep can potentially prevent and combat headaches. Some people who experience migraines regularly say that they use sleep as a relief for migraines. Besides ensuring that you get around 8 hours of sleep at night, you have to consider how you are sleeping.
Sleeping on your stomach can strain the muscles and bones in your neck, leading to poor circulation, and ultimately, migraines. Consider sleeping on your back or on your sides to prevent straining your neck.
Correcting Your Posture
Poor posture causes tension in your neck, back, and shoulders. This tension can lead to issues like back and neck pain, headaches, and migraines. One way to prevent migraines from happening is by improving your posture.
To improve your posture, here are some tips that you might want to follow:
- Don’t sit or stand in one steady position for long periods. If you are working on your desk for extended periods, take a stretch or walk once in a while.
- Check your body for bad posture. Take some pictures of yourself: front, sides, and back. Both your upper and lower back should be straight. Also, check if your hands hang evenly at the sides.
- When working on a computer desk, keep the monitor at your eye level. If the monitor is at eye-level, you do not need to slouch, crouch, or look up for long periods. This lessens the strain on your neck.
- Consider visiting a chiropractor to help improve your posture and get migraine relief. Some chiropractors, notably upper cervical chiropractic care, focus on a certain part of the spine to correct any underlying issues. These procedures can help alleviate any chronic pains such as migraines and help improve the quality of life.
Getting the Help for Your Migraine Management
Misalignments in the neck area can lead to issues that include migraines. A misalignment in one particular part of the neck called the Atlas can cause neck pain, stiffness, dizziness, balance problems, and even reduced spinal mobility.
Upper cervical chiropractic care uses a gentle method of adjusting. Chiropractors guide the vertebrae in the neck back to their proper positions, resulting in long-lasting migraine relief and improved posture. Migraines and pregnancy would not be an issue anymore as adjustments are safe even for pregnant women.
Do you want to know more about upper cervical chiropractic care? Be sure to reach out to an upper cervical doctor near you and know what chiropractic care can do for your migraines and overall health.