lucky bandit | RVA based lifestyle blog: thoughts from a long time migraine sufferer - and 5 tips to ease the pain

Monday, December 28, 2015

thoughts from a long time migraine sufferer - and 5 tips to ease the pain

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I've been a life long migraine sufferer. Today was no exception - I woke up with a splitting headache. I can remember being a first grader and having migraines, laying down with my face on the cold seat of the school bus. Migraines are hereditary - my family, mainly my father's side, have had them as well. Now that I'm older I find I have fewer headaches, but they're just as hellacious. I'm just better at combating them.

If you've never had a migraine, I am both envious and grateful for you. My headaches run the full gamut of textbook migraines - sensitivity to light, sound, and even inducing nausea and vomiting in some cases.

Through the years I've learned my "triggers", things that induce a migraine, and it's quite the list. When I was a child I had a huge list, mainly food related. Hot dogs, tuna, dark chocolate, Doritos, and anything with MSG topped that list. Though I don't eat most of those things now, anything with MSG, overly processed foods, and even Chipotle's sofritas can trigger a migraine. I think I'm most upset about the sofritas, haha.

If you're a migraine sufferer, it can be a slippery slope to finding out what brings on a migraine. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do to prevent one. I'd say 90% of my migraines are triggered by food - I slip up and eat something with MSG, or really want Chipotle, or just ate a little too much sugar. And there's hormones, too. There's not much that can be done about those!

Here are some tips I've learned over my twenty years of migraines to ease the pain. Do keep in mind that I'm not a doctor or a health professional, and these tips don't substitute for what your doctor tells you.

1. Consult your doctor.
Always talk to your doctor about migraines and health issues. They know about these things, and can offer help and look into the issue.

2. Keep a regular sleep schedule.
Getting too much or too little sleep can trigger a headache. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.

3. Avoid your trigger foods.
Not only will you not eat as many processed foods, you'll hopefully avoid migraines. If you're on a special diet, consult your doctor before making any changes. Limit alcohol as well - since quitting drinking in June, I've found I have fewer migraines.

4. Use over-the-counter medications sparingly.
Tylenol can have ill effects on your liver, and overusing it can cause damage. There's also rebound headaches. I'm quick to take medication as soon as I feel a headache coming because I know how bad they can be, but as I've gotten older I try to avoid using them when possible.

5. Try a few home remedies.
A little caffeine can provide temporary relief. That doesn't mean go guzzle energy drinks, but a cup of fresh tea or coffee can help. I've found cold compresses and dark, quiet spaces ease them as well. Naps can work wonders, too.

These have helped me with my own migraines, but every person's body is different. I can't stress enough how important it is to talk to your doctor! No one has to suffer with pain if it can be helped. And if you need an ear to just chat about the hellish life of chronic headaches, don't hesitate to email me!

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