Severe throbbing on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound–if all these sound familiar, and are what you’ve been experiencing, then there’s a good chance it’s not just an ordinary type of headache or some under the weather blues. You have most likely experienced a migraine. The Mayo Clinic has characterized migraine attacks as significant pain for hours to days, which can be so extreme that the pain is disabling. As a lady boss of our jobs, our family, our business and/or our household, migraines are definitely a big no-no. Fortunately, proper knowledge and lifestyle changes can help you outsmart it.
In an article on Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Elizabeth Loder, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Headache and Pain in the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, stated that in order to qualify as a migraine, “A person must experience at least five attacks that meet most or all of these criteria [headache lasting between four and 72 hours, typically on one side of the head, often throbbing or pounding with moderate to severe pain and gets worse with physical activity] in order to be diagnosed with migraine”.
Given this, it is still most advisable that you see a doctor before proceeding with any further medications, as treatments are based on the frequency of your symptoms.
Once diagnosed, aside from religiously following the medications you will receive from your doctor, some people may find that a few tweaks in one’s lifestyle can help manage the pain, put migraines at bay, or at least reduce the attacks.
Migraines may increase sensitivity to lights and sounds, which is why it may help to find a dark and quiet room at the first sign of an attack. Once settled, sleeping is also highly recommended. More significantly, keep your bedroom dark and quiet on a regular basis to help maintain the calm environment. Make sure that it’s a place suited for relaxing, which means removing TVs, gadgets and the like, and making sure work is done outside of it.
Migraines are often triggered by lack of sleep, and for those diagnosed with migraine, it is best to create or establish a regular sleeping pattern. The Mayo Clinic recommends this as a way to help introduce a sleeping routine, “Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day–even on weekends. If you nap during the day, keep it short. Naps longer than 20 to 30 minutes may interfere with nighttime sleep”.
An article on WebMD states that one of the common triggers of migraine is stress, “When you’re stressed, your brain releases chemicals that can cause the blood vessel changes that can lead to a migraine.” Try finding ways to help manage stress. Managing your time, simplifying over complicated tasks, taking breaks, relaxing, and most of all, cutting yourself some slack and learning how to breathe are some ways you can start.
Tracking your migraine attacks can help you recognize your triggers and what helps relieve them. Record when the attack happened, what you were doing, how long it took, and what helped soothe or reduce the pain. To manage a migraine, you need to know what caused or triggered it. And when you begin to see patterns, you can start to avoid or increase them depending on how it works for you.
If it hasn’t been said enough, taking proper care of your body in all aspects pertaining to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being will definitely be your best weapon to beat migraines and most other medical conditions. Exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, drinking water (a lot of water!), and keeping stress at bay are all ways you can most likely outsmart anything that will hinder you from being the best in what you do every single day.