Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
Snack Smart To Keep Blood Sugar In A Healthy Range
Because your blood sugar decreases during exercise, its important to have a source of energy while you work out, Gaz says.
If you get cramps, you may have eaten too close to your workout, Gaz notes. And, adds Kriegler, going too long without eating can also provoke a migraine.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Will my child grow out of their migraines?
- What medications do you recommend for me?
- What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
- Should I get tested?
- What type of migraine do I have?
- What can my friends and family do to help?
- Are my migraines considered chronic?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.
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Are Certain Workouts More Likely To Trigger Migraine Headaches
As Dr. Bain mentioned earlier, more strenuous and high-intensity activities like rowing, running, playing tennis, swimming and weight lifting are prone to triggering headaches. However, a recent study found that high-intensity interval training, or HITT, is effective in reducing migraines in addition to moderate continuous exercise.
âMy sense is that low to moderate intensity workouts do not precipitate headaches as much as high-intensity workouts, though the study seems to contradict this,â Dr. Bain says.
One reason behind Dr. Bainâs prediction include the fact that HIIT is associated with more significant increases in blood pressure and heart rateâtwo factors may contribute to head pain. Despite ambiguity on the matter, as with all triggers, the exercise that incites a migraine in one person may not trigger any pain in another. Therefore, itâs best to determine what fitness regime works best for you, personally.
How Do You Know If Your Headache Is Benign Or More Serious
While primary exertion headaches are frustrating, theyâre totally normal and nothing to seriously worry about. A second type of headache associated with physical activity called a secondary exertional headache, however, is a more serious issue, Dr. Bain warns.
Secondary exertion headaches are typically indicative of a larger problem, like meningitis or a brain tumor, Dr. Bain explains. For example, exercise increases your blood pressure and heart rate, making a blood vessel rupture more likely if youâre already in a compromised health condition. In rare cases, exercise-related headaches can also be an unusual sign of heart artery blockages. While rare, these headaches require immediate medical attention.
It can be tricky to differentiate between a primary exertion headache that is essentially innocuous and a secondary exertion headache that can be potentially life-threatening, so Dr. Bain broke down the symptoms of each.
Primary exercise headaches often have a throbbing sensation, are felt on both sides of the head, occur during or after strenuous exercise, and generally, last anywhere from five minutes to 48 hours.
Secondary exercise headaches can mimic symptoms of primary exercise-related headaches, but often include more drastic symptoms like nausea and vomiting, loss of consciousness, double vision, and severe neck stiffness. They can also last multiple daysâtipping you off that something might be seriously wrong.
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What Exercise You Should Avoid
Certain exercises, especially strenuous ones, may trigger migraines. For instance, powerlifting like you might see CrossFitters do when they lift heavy weights for few reps can trigger a migraine often referred to as a weight lifters headache. When youre lifting heavy weights, you increase the pressure on the cushion that protects the brain, explains Tariq. We believe that when a person with migraine lifts heavy weights, they oftentimes hold their breath multiple times, which increases that pressure and stretches those nerves in the neck and scalp, resulting in a migraine. There is no research that says lifting in general triggers migraines, so doctors recommend you listen to your body. And if you know youre prone to overexertion while strength training, its best to avoid it.
In general, according to the September 2018 review, aerobic exercises such as cycling and walking are better for chronic migraines than muscle-strengthening exercises such as bicep curls with weights. And dont forget to warm up sufficiently before working out and drink plenty of water throughout your workout, as dehydration can be a common trigger for migraines, according to the AMF.
What Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
One of the best ways to prevent migraines is to try to avoid the things that might trigger your attacks. Most people benefit from trying to get stable sleep, eating regular meals, drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, and trying to manage stress. Taking regular exercise may also help prevent migraines since it helps with breathing, improving blood sugar balance and maintaining general wellbeing. Although you should take care not to engage in very strenuous activity that your body is not used to as this can sometimes act as a migraine trigger.
Keeping a diary of your migraines can be a useful way to record when and where you experience attacks, check for any patterns, and try to identify your triggers. Take the diary when you see your GP so you can communicate your symptoms with them and they can find the best way to help you.
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Why Lighting May Be Your Biggest Issue
One of the worst triggers for many office workers, though, is;the overhead lighting. Fluorescent lighting can be particularly triggering for migraine sufferers. Fluorescent lighting creates a bright, unnatural light that can be harmful to those with a light sensitivity due to migraines. The overhead lighting from fluorescents can also create a lot of glare on the computer screen, another trigger for headaches and migraines.
There are some studies that show the biggest issue with fluorescent lights could be the blue light they emit. According to an article from;Harvard Medical School, research shows that blue light can trigger headaches even in those who are blind. So reducing the blue light can reduce the number of headaches happening for an employee with migraines.
That doesnt mean you need to take on all the time and expense of retrofitting your existing lighting fixtures, though. If your office uses fluorescent lighting, consider looking for ways to mask the blue light and make it easier on employees eyes.
Items like;tube covers;and;light covers can create more natural lighting while also reducing the glare on computer screens. The covers can block UV radiation, which can trigger other health conditions like lupus photosensitivity and fibromyalgia. The covers are much less expensive than retrofitting all your lighting fixtures and take just minutes to install. Its a simple fix for one of the offices most harmful migraine triggers.
Resistance Training And High
High-intensity interval workouts, otherwise known as HIIT, consist of alternating between short cardio exercises and low-intensity exercises or rest. These workouts can often trigger migraines for individuals who suffer, so its essential to be aware of how your body responds. A recent study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science, however, shows that consistently performing high-intensity interval training can positively affect people suffering from migraines. According to the study, HIIT can reduce the number of migraines as well as their harshness.
When participating in HIIT, its crucial to start slow to avoid triggering a migraine. Try beginning your training with a five-minute walk or jog, or try light weightlifting. After you have finished your workout, be sure to gently stretch for five to 10 minutes to get your heart rate and blood pressure back to an average level. Doing so will help prevent soreness and your risk for a post-workout migraine.
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How To Avoid Migraines At Work
More important than treating migraines once they come on is avoiding episodes to begin with, says Diamond. That means taking steps to adjust your work routine and office environment as much as possible in order to mitigate the specific factors that prompt episodes.
Ultimately lifestyle plays a role, and so we talk about the migraine brain being more irritable, says Diamond. It doesnt like change. Establishing solid routines and sticking to them can be an important factor in avoiding migraines, she says. That means waking up and going to sleep at a regular time every night, staying hydrated, keeping daytime naps relatively short and not skipping meals.
Some people who experience migraines may want to avoid fluorescent lighting, as bright light can trigger their headaches. So can strong odors for some patientsso if a colleague uses strong-smelling perfume or aftershave that triggers your symptoms, that might call for a respectful conversation between co-workers.
You might not be able to change everything about your work environment to avoid migraines, but its important to adjust what you can control to make episodes less likely to occur.
Reducing Migraine Triggers In The Office
Its not clear;what exactly causes migraines. Research indicates it could be hormonal, environmental, or a misfire in the brain somewhere. What is clear, though, is that there are many environmental factors that can trigger a migraine. If employers can help reduce those triggering factors, they may see the number of sick days due to migraine attacks go down. That means a boost to productivity and reduced insurance costs, too.
Some of the most common triggers are those associated with the five senses, including loud noises and strong smells. Implementing a no-perfume policy and encouraging coworkers to keep noise to a minimum can be a good start towards creating a migraine-friendly workplace.
Stress is another common trigger for migraine sufferers. Some jobs are naturally more stressful than others. However, employers may be able to help by moving the employee into a position they find to be less stressful. They may also offer assistance through job-sharing with another employee.
Finding those solutions can make a big difference to the well-being of the employee without any loss of productivity for the employer.
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Lack Of Understanding About Migraine
Dr Debashish Chowdhury, Professor and Head of Neurology, G B Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research and Incharge, Headache Clinic, GIPMER, New Delhi said, There is a lack of understanding amongst people about the severity of migraines. In a study we recently conducted, about 50 percent to 60;percent of migraineurs were undiagnosed, despite recurrent headaches. Because migraine falls on a spectrum, ranging from infrequent or mild attacks to recurrent ones, many pass it off as merely a headache. With busy work-from-home schedules, paired with fear of contracting COVID-19 infection and difficulty in accessing in-person care, people are avoiding seeking medical help for the condition, instead attributing symptoms to associated comorbidities, such as stress or depression.
He continued, Financial worries due to job loss or salary cuts also contribute to aggravated migraine attacks, which is more noticeable recently. The effects of migraine on ones quality of life also reportedly worsened, particularly for many migraineurs working as essential healthcare workers at this time.;Symptom neglect and failure to treat the condition can lead to migraines becoming chronic. A fundamental need is to recognize migraine as a serious condition with severe disability and adopt a holistic treatment approach. Early detection can be a key enabler of a smoother patient journey and an improved quality of life.
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It Has Become More Urgent To Ensure That Individuals Have The Understanding And Tools To Effectively Manage Migraines
He continued, “Financial worries due to job loss or salary cuts also contribute to aggravated migraine attacks, which is more noticeable recently. The effects of migraine on one’s quality of life also reportedly worsened, particularly for many migraineurs working as essential healthcare workers at this time.Symptom neglect and failure to treat the condition can lead to migraines becoming chronic. A fundamental need is to recognize migraine as a serious condition with severe disability and adopt a holistic treatment approach. Early detection can be a key enabler of a smoother patient journey and an improved quality of life.”Here are 5 ways to manage your migraine while working from home:Identify risk factors and monitor triggersMigraines can begin at any age but tend to peak during one’s prime productive years. Moreover, women are three times more likely to be affected than men, with prevalence peaking between the ages of 25 and 55 years.Long hours of working from home, along with longer screen times, disrupted sleep schedules and irregular eating habits can increase stress levels. For migraineurs, such changes can become migraine triggers, exacerbating their condition. Identifying personal triggers can help individuals manage their migraines better.
Melatonin For Migraines: Does It Work
Melatonin is a hormone involved in sleep regulation. While it comes from the pineal gland, sometimes people take it in supplement form to address sleeping problems like insomnia. Nowadays, some patients who have chronic migraine symptoms also use melatonin to cope better. But does it work?
Studies on using melatonin for migrainesshow mixed results. In one study, the researchers found that taking 3mg of melatonin can help curb the frequency of a migraine attack because of its anti-inflammatory effects on the body.;
This may be because of melatonins role in regulating sleep. Several studies note that lack of sleep can result in a significant increase in migraine attacks. Thats because lack of sleep increases pain sensitivity and affects the balance of some brain chemicals.;
However, another study showed that placebo treatment and melatonin supplements showed similar effects in curbing migraine episodes. Some also note that taking melatonin can mess up the bodys normal sleeping cycle, potentially leading to worse migraine problems.;
Until today, researchers are still trying to understand the exact mechanism of melatonin in relieving migraines. As a result, you should talk with your doctor or chiropractor for migrainesbefore taking melatonin supplements. This would help you figure out possible complications or determine whether you should seek another remedy.
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:
- Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
- Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
- Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
- Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
- Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
- Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
- Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
- Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
- Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.