Migraines can be caused by all kinds of things and people report a variety of triggers from stress to chocolate, sleeplessness to oranges. For some people, migraines are a rare occurrence but for others, they can come in sudden waves – especially if you are in your mid-20s.
Having regular migraines isn’t just a pain because they hurt, it can also feel like a barrier to progress at work. When you lose a full day at a time to lie in a darkened room, your whole lifestyle can feel like it’s going up in smoke and your mental health can even be affected.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help improve your migraines and reduce the impact they have on your life.
The first thing you should do is find a painkiller that can help to reduce the severity of your symptoms. For many people over the counter drugs like paracetamol or ibuprofen don’t really help so you should ask your doctor about something like sumatriptan which is designed specifically for migraines and available only in the UK.
If you are getting migraines regularly then a preventative medical approach may be wise. Propranolol is a popular choice for people who suffer stress migraines as it reduces your blood pressure. As a beta blocker, propranolol improves blood flow. This is really important as one of the theories about migraines is that the blood vessels in the neck constrict. By taking propranolol regularly, you should experience fewer migraines.
Many women experience migraines as their hormones fluctuate throughout the month. This can be really frustrating but may be improved by going on the pill. On the other hand, if you are already on the pill, coming off or swapping to a different pill might help. Getting your pill right for you is important so while you should give yourself time to acclimate to a new pill, don’t be afraid to go back to your doctor if it isn’t right.
The best way to treat migraines is actually to prevent them and there are a few strategies you might like to try. Keeping a diary is a good start as this might show you what your triggers are. Triggers can be emotional, environmental or dietary but there are all kinds of things that might be linked. Knowing your triggers should help you to work out a treatment program.
As neck tension is almost certainly linked, doing a few neck exercises each day can really help. Similarly, doing pilates or yoga might be a nice way to stretch out while reducing your stress. Indeed, regular exercise of any kind is very much encouraged, just make sure that you drink plenty of water and take on salts (such as a rehydration sachet) if you get headaches afterwards. You may also like to try complementary approaches such as physiotherapy, massage or acupuncture.
Migraines can be incredibly painful and can cause serious problems but there are things you can do to reduce symptoms and regularity. Try different approaches until you find something that works for you.