Tips To Relieve Migraine Pain
Rest in a quiet, dark room. Many people with migraines report sensitivity to light and sound. Make your bedroom dark and quiet, and you may be able to sleep, Good says. Not all headaches respond to sleep, she notes, but the chemicals released in your brain during sleep may help ease your pain. Also, she says, if youre sensitive to sounds, blocking them out could help.
Apply a hot or cold compress. Place the compress across your forehead or the back of your neck. Many of my patients prefer a cold compress, says Lawrence C. Newman, MD, director of the Division of Headache at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and a board member of the American Migraine Foundation.
Ice can have a numbing effect. It detracts the brain from the migraine, says Good. Youre stimulating other nerve endings where youre putting the compress.
Some people may prefer a warm compress, Dr. Newman says. Heat can help relax tense muscles. You may also try taking a warm bath or shower.
Smell the lavender. The scent of lavender may help you relax. You can sip some lavender tea, or inhale lavender essential oil, which is available in pharmacies and health food stores. A small study published in European Neurology in 2012 evaluated the use of lavender essential oil in people experiencing a migraine. In the trial, those who inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes reported greater reduction of headache severity than those who did not.
How To Manage Weather
June is Awareness Month, and many people with migraines say that weather changes trigger headachesespecially extreme heat.
“Migraine is a prime example of a neurologic condition with environmental triggers,” says Orrin Devinsky, M.D., a neurologist at New York University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “Foods are often considered the main trigger, but weather may be an underappreciated factor. For many people with migraine, recognizing their own triggerssuch as food or sleep deprivationcan be one of the most effective forms of prevention,” he says.
According to a recent survey by the National Foundation, specific weather triggers may include:
- Temperature changes
- Bright lights and sun glare
- Barometric pressure changes
Some experts suggest that people with frequent headaches, including migraine, have a lower threshold for pain or are more sensitive to changes in the environment, including weather. On the other hand, several objective studies do not show a consistent association between weather changes and migraine. : 941-52)
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.
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Be Open & Upfront About Your Condition Especially In The Workplace
While Catie, 29, used to suffer through her migraines at work, she has since learned to be open and upfront with her co-workers and supervisors about her pain. Not only have her managers been understanding, sheâs also found other colleagues who suffer from migraines who understand what sheâs going through. With openness and honesty, she finds her supervisors will allow her to cut the workday short or not even come into the office if she has a migraine when she first wakes up.
âFor my job, I need to be fully functioning to avoid making any mistakes. If I have a migraine and am not functioning at my highest, I will ask to leave.â
If you’re having trouble finding the right words to tell a supervisor about your migraines, you can find some tips and a template in this article.
Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors
Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:
- Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
- Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
- Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
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Test Your Powers On Migraine Weather Today
Before you get too bummed out about the weather you can’t control, consider this. It might just be a hidden superpower. In a way, those with Migraine are more in tune with their environment. Could this have actually been an evolutionary advantage?
While this is just a theory, I like the idea of being a human barometer. It makes me different, a little special, just in case the Weather Channel calls to offer me a job.
Track your Migraine attacks as you track the weather and see if it’s a trigger for you. If it is, start forecasting so you can adjust your exposure to triggers you can control.
How We Can Help
Determining your headache management plan
Your treatment will depend on the type of headaches youre having. Treatments can include lifestyle changes and medicines. In some cases you may receive injections to alleviate your headache pain. Your care team creates a headache management plan that works for you.
Treatment options include:
Keep a headache diary and avoid your triggers. When you feel a headache starting, rest in a quiet, dark room. Close your eyes. Don’t watch TV or read. Put a cold pack or cool cloth on the painful area.
Meet our team
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Be Prepared And Realistic About The Pain
Jenny, 27, often gets migraines when she is so busy at work she forgets to eat and drink regularly. To keep her migraines at bay , she keeps an emergency stash of snacks, water, and ibuprofen on hand, always.
âI know that the sooner I deal with it, the sooner it will be gone. Although sometimes, I do push throughâeverything is more difficult, and I always feel like I am moving 10 times slower.â
While it can be easy in the moment to ignore the warnings signs of a migraine, or try to âpush through the pain,â Jenny knows itâs better to address the symptoms right away as it will only get increasingly difficult to function if left ignored.
Preventing Tension Headaches From Anxiety
To prevent tension headaches, finding ways to reduce anxiety is essential.
Although each persons cause of anxiety is different, there are some general anxiety reduction strategies that could result in preventing headaches altogether. :
- Make sure that you are exercising, eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water. Poor eating habits and inactivity generally lead to more anxiety and thus could contribute to tension headaches.
- Learn anxiety reduction strategies to manage the level of anxiety experienced, as the more anxiety one feels, the more intense a tension headache may be. So, it makes sense that. tension headaches are more easily treated when mild. As soon as you start feeling stressed, start deep breathing or practice a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. These are ways to intervene when the pain is still manageable.
- Always try to get enough sleep. Sleep is essential to mental and physical health and one of lifes main coping strategies. Lack of sleep contributes to increased stress, and further eye strain .
While there are ways to manage anxiety and the associated headaches, meeting with a mental health professional still may be recommended vital to explore and identify the underlying cause of anxiety.
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Relieving Migraine Pain In Your Child
How Prevalent Are Migraines
Migraines are about three times more common in women than men, and may affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. Migraines often run in families, and can start as early as elementary school but most often in early adulthood. They often fade away later in life, but can strike at any time. The most common cause of recurring, disabling headache pain, migraines are also the most common underlying cause of disabling chronic, daily headache pain. While migraines are the No. 1 reason that patients see a neurologist, most cases are handled by primary care physicians.
Things that can make the headaches more likely to occur include:
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Home Remedies To Ease A Headache Or Migraine Attack
Many headache symptoms can be at least partially alleviated without medication. Here are some tips for homemade headache and migraine relief:
Apply an ice pack to your head and neck. Cold compresses on the head and neck are a common home remedy to ease the pain of a migraine attack. Some people also find it helpful for tension headaches. To avoid skin injury, wrap the ice or cold pack in a cloth and apply it for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Apply heat to the head, neck, or hands and feet. Applying heat may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful, or simply run warm water over your hands and feet.
Have a big glass of water.Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack or lead to a nonmigraine headache, says the National Headache Foundation. Replacing the liquids your body needs may help to relieve the pain.
Practice a relaxation technique.Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from muscle contraction headaches, says Rozental.
Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes helps to reduce headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
What Is Migraine Exactly
You may think of a migraine as a really bad headachebut the pain that accompanies it is far more severe. Migraine is actually a neurological disease. During an attack, groups of your brain cells become overactive, your blood vessels narrow, and blow flow to your brain shifts, which may contribute to the onset of symptoms, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. To be diagnosed, you have to experience the attacks repeatedly, which means having at least five excruciating headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours each per month, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Migraine has specific hallmarks to distinguish it from everyday headaches: The pain usually throbs, pounds, and/or pulses . This is usually accompanied by an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, which gets worse with physical activity. Migraine can also cause sensitivity to light, noise, and smells.
Migraine headaches can be brought on by triggers and these can vary wildlyanything from specific foods to stress to dehydration can spur an attack. However, not all migraine episodes have triggers, and if they do, you might not know what your individual triggers are. The headaches often feel dull and achy when they begin and gradually become more severe, eventually causing intense, throbbing pain. At their worst, migraine can make your whole head, face, jaw, and neck pulsate with pain.
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How To Get Rid Of A Migraine: A Step
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A migraine is much more than your typical headache. It can cause extreme pain, nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. The throbbing pain can quickly ruin your day and interfere with your life.
But you dont have to sit back and wait for a migraine to end. As long as you know how to deal with it, you can tackle it from all sides and get back to your daily life.
Take note of these simple steps, and youll be prepared the next time a migraine strikes.
Use Blue Light Filters
Blue light from devices can also mess with your circadian rhythm, which in turn can disrupt your sleep, contributing to migraines. Fortunately, there’s software that filters out the blue light on your computer, tablet, or phone.
Windows 10 comes with its own blue light filter called “Night Light,” and MacOS has “Night Shift,” but you have to turn these on in your settings. Third-party blue light filter options include F.lux and Iris mini.
You can also try blue-light-blocking glasses. These may be especially handy at work if you’re dealing with a migraine.
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Address Teeth Grinding Or Excessive Chewing
People have to eat to survive, and chewing is an important part of eating. However, studies suggest that excessive chewing might be linked to more headaches and even migraine. Researchers focused on gum-chewing for the study and found that tension headaches and migraine were more common in people who chewed gum frequently.
While you cant avoid eating, you may want to rethink chewing gum if you regularly experience migraine. You may also want to consider if you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, as this could have a similar effect.
A Word Of Warning When Things Change
Just a word of warning, you know I like to be overly cautious – please seek medical care immediately if your head pain changes in any way from the past normal pattern or :
has sudden onset and is severe
follows a head injury
is not relieved by rest and pain medication or
is accompanied by a stiff neck, fever, double vision, numbness, confusion, or difficulty speaking.
You can never be too careful with head pain or trauma. If your headaches are turning into migraines, are worsening, or the patterns change, please consult your physician asap.
When anything changes away from your normal pattern, make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible.
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What Drugs Are Good For Migraines
If you have migraine attacks, try one of the drugs listed below. They all work best if you use them when the migraine is just beginning.
If you have migraines often, or if they are very severe, ask your doctor about drugs to prevent headaches.
Meet With School Staff
Have a meeting with your child’s teacher and other school staff at the start of each school year to make sure that they understand migraines. Give the school a written list of your child’s prodrome warning signs to help them recognize an oncoming migraine, as well as a description of the typical symptoms your son or daughter experiences.
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The American Migraine Foundations Guide To Triggers & How To Manage Them
The sudden onset of a migraine means a dark room, bed and a cool towel for most of us. While these seem to come out of nowhere, many will find that there are usually some signs that a migraine attack is on its way. These signs can reveal a pattern in your symptoms, and even provide you with preventative tools for managing migraine. Everyone has different triggers, but there are a few common culprits that affect a large number of people living with migraine. When you can identify your triggers, you are one step closer to effectively managing your migraine and avoiding future attacks.