Making a few minor changes in your lifestyle can make your migraines more bearable. Improving sleep habits is important for everyone, and especially those with headaches. What you eat also has a huge impact on migraines, so dietary changes can be extremely beneficial, too.
Avoiding Food Triggers. – See triggers
Healthy Diet. One study indicated that a low in fat/ high complex carbohydrate diet may significantly reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine headaches.
Eating regularly is important to prevent low blood sugar. People with migraines who fast periodically for religious reasons might consider taking preventive medications.
Fish Oil. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory and nerve protecting actions. These fatty acids can be found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines. They can also be obtained in supplements of specific omega-3 compounds (DHA-EPA).
Aerobic Exercise – Exercise relieves stress to put it simply, more specifically, exercise leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental, called Endorphin’s. Endorphin is the brain’s painkiller, and it is 3 times more potent than morphine. Low impact, moderate exercise has been shown to help in the prevention of migraines. Walking, hiking, treadmill or elliptical machines are good choices.
Always start with a gentle stretch, incorporating breathing techniques as taught in Yoga or Pilates. Taking a deep breath through the nose releases a gas produced in the sinus cavity that when inhaled into the lungs, significantly enhances your lung’s capacity to absorb oxygen. This gas is lethal to bacteria and viruses and is also known to increase oxygen absorption in your lungs from 10-25 percent. The result? You enter a relaxed state which is perfect combined with stretching and will work in your favor in preventing those migraines.
Move on to a warm up to get the blood flowing to every part of your body then proceed into your workout. Remember not to do anything too suddenly or vigorously.
Behavioral Treatments – Many neurologists who specialize in treating migraine patients recommend behavioral techniques that reduce stress and help patients to identify it. Research indicates between 35 – 50% reduction in migraine and tension-type headaches with these techniques. generally include:
* Biofeedback therapy
* Cognitive-behavioral therapy
* Relaxation techniques
Avoiding Oral Contraceptives – Oral contraceptives (OCs) have been associated with worse headaches in 18 – 50% of women and have also been linked to a higher risk for stroke in women with classic migraines (with auras). This is due to the hormonal modulation that these kinds of drugs cause.
Why your prescription medication works against you – Many migraine sufferers use either prescription medicines like triptans (i.e. Immitrex, Zomig) or over the counter medications many of which contain caffeine. When these medications are consistently used many times a week they actually cause significantly more migraines to happen, even though they may help the current migraine at hand.
Many prescription drug users will find the need to take more of the drug in a day or two because they think the migraine they had returned, when in fact it is a new migraine. THIS IS REFERRED TO AS MEDICATION-OVERUSE HEADACHE (MOH) and this problem is rampant, especially in chronic migraine sufferers. It is very important for migraine sufferers to be aware of their MOH problem in order to stop the vicious cycle of rebound headaches.
What effect does PMS have on migraines and their frequency in some women? As previously mentioned under the contraceptive pills section, the changes in hormonal balance that occurs during various stages of the menstrual cycle can have a large impact on the occurrence of migraines. 18-50% of women report that there is a menstrual/hormonal component to their migraines. A nutritional supplement like MigreLief+M which contains ingredients to help balance hormone and blood sugar fluctuations is a great choice for women experiencing menstrual migraines and/or symptoms of PMS.
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