Managing Migraine Pain

Managing Migraine PainMigraines are nerve wrecking painful but this does not mean that they can’t be managed. You can take medication for the pain and even treatment but that is not the only thing you need. You need to know what to do when the migraine attacks and what triggers it.

Medication is a proven way to treat — and prevent — migraines. But medication is only part of the story. It’s also important to take good care of yourself and understand how to cope with migraine pain when it strikes.

The same lifestyle choices that promote good health can also reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.

In fact, knowing how to manage migraine pain with lifestyle and behavioral measures, as well as medication, can often be the most effective way to handle migraines.

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For you to be able to manage your migraines, you need to keep a schedule where everything remains constant. You should eat meals at a specific time, sleep at and wake up at a certain time.

Tips for People to Manage Migraine Headaches Without Medication

  1. Keep a consistent schedule. Migraine patients need “sameness” — same time to bed, same time to wake up, same time to eat on weekends and weekdays. Avoid changes whenever possible.

  2. Don’t sleep late on weekends or on days off. Get up at the same time.

  3. Women should maintain normal menstrual periods (they may need the help of a physician).

  4. Eat meals at the same time every day — don’t delay meals for very long and don’t skip meals.

  5. Avoid foods likely to provoke headache. Patients can obtain food lists from the American Council on Headache Education, Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute and the American Headache Foundation.

  6. Exercise moderately, within your health parameters.

  7. For neck pain, try a “neck pillow.”

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Migraines can also be as a result of the food you are eating. It is therefore important to note what you eat and the reaction that follows. The main culprit in this section is alcohol.

“If someone tells me that a certain food triggers their migraines, I’m not going to argue with them. They should avoid that food,” says Lucy Rathier, PhD, clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Carol Ford is quite certain that red wine is one of her triggers. “I love to drink it, but I usually pay a big price when I do,” she says. She’s not alone. One out of 3 people who have migraines say alcohol is a trigger.

Noah Rosen, MD, director of the Headache Center at North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute, isn’t surprised. He says its effects have been proven in studies. “People single out red wine or dark liquors, but unfortunately, any alcohol can be a trigger.”

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