Mind and Body

Identify triggers to help manage migraines

Migraines are inconvenient, painful and can rob you of your quality of life. Effective migraine management can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Here are five practical ways to control your migraines and improve your quality of life:

Identify your triggers
Your first step in learning to manage your migraine should be to recognize the triggers that cause them. Triggers vary greatly from person to person, but some of the most common include stressful stimuli like bright or flashing lights, certain food or medication, physical exertion, smoking, changes in environment or changes in sleeping pattern. By learning to avoid these triggers, you may be able to lower the frequency of migraine attacks.

Dietary changes
Once you’ve identified your triggers, you need to try and avoid them. You could try keeping a diary of the food you eat over a number of weeks to see if a pattern emerges of migraines being prompted by certain foods. Some simple dietary changes can also help you ease the symptoms of migraines. Limit yourself to two caffeinated drinks each day as it tends to produce more severe headaches. Avoid non-essential fats and sugar, drink plenty of water and eat vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. These are great ways to improve your health and reduce migraine symptoms.

Stress management
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, stress is one of the leading cause of migraines, and learning to manage your stress levels can be an effective way to lower the frequency of migraines. Regular exercise and daily personal relaxation are two of the simplest ways to relieve tension and lower your stress levels. Alternative therapies such as getting a massage or taking yoga classes may also help you to relax. Those feeling more adventurous could try biofeedback – an electronic system that monitors your body’s heart rate and tension levels and lets you know when it’s time to relax with some breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.

Herbal remedies
Certain herbal remedies have also been known to help ease symptoms of migraines. For example, chewing raw ginger root is thought to relieve the nausea and digestive problems that often accompany migraines. Similarly, gingko will help improve and control blood circulation during migraine episodes. Many herbs can be consumed in their raw form or added or added regularly to food.

Although no cure has been discovered, a wide variety of drugs and treatments have been developed to combat migraines. Medication should be taken at the first signs of an attack, as they are most effective during the early stages. Specially designed migraine pain relievers are among the most common drugs of choice for sufferers. Drugs called triptans often prove highly effective, but can be expensive.