Migraines are notorious for the debilitating pain they cause, and unfortunately, they’re not short-lived. Unlike other headaches, migraines can last up to 72 hours, turning your misery into a days-long event.
This can make it hard to perform well at work, enjoy social outings, or even complete daily tasks. If you suffer from chronic migraines, our team of providers encourages you to visit us in Arlington, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.
In the meantime, we share five effective strategies for managing migraine pain and improving the quality of your life.
1. Focus on diet
Did you know that certain food can contribute to migraine development? Common dietary triggers include alcohol, foods that contain additives such as MSG, nitrates, or aspartame, cured meat, and food that contains tyramine. Not everyone responds to these foods the same way, but if you notice more migraines after consuming these foods, consider avoiding any of your dietary triggers. Instead, focus on a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Your food choices alone aren’t the only migraine triggers. Skipping meals can also cause migraines. To help reduce migraines due to hunger, plan your meals at the same time every day. Don’t space your meals out too far; eat a snack to help stave off hunger.
2. Stay hydrated
In addition to focusing on food, focus on what you drink. Dehydration can make any headache feel more intense. Unfortunately, 77% of Americans report that they don’t drink enough water. If you struggle to drink your eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, try these strategies to ensure you stay hydrated:
- Use a water bottle with marked measurements so you can track how much you drink (once you see the number you consume, it can be motivating to stick with it)
- Try flavored water (especially in place of sodas)
- Add fresh lemon or berries to make your water more appealing
- Set a reminder on your phone to take sips
- Stash a reusable water bottle in your lunch box
- Use habit-tracking apps to stay consistent
Staying hydrated isn’t just good for migraine prevention. Proper hydration affects your entire body, from your skin health to your mental condition to your immune system.
3. Practice good sleep hygiene
A lack of quality sleep can contribute to brain fog, weakened immune function, irritability, and even migraines. The good news is that sleep hygiene practices can help you get more sleep and a better quality of sleep. Examples of sleep hygiene practices include going to bed at the same time every time, sleeping in a cool and dark room, avoiding blue light (screens) for 1-2 hours before bed, and exercising early in the day. If you read on a tablet or phone, switch your phone into “night mode.”
Tip: Because neck pain can also trigger headaches, sleep in a spine-friendly position so you don’t wake up with a sore neck.
4. Adopt a few stress management techniques
Stress is another migraine trigger, and thankfully, there are many strategies to help reduce stress levels. This includes exercise, walking outside, yoga, deep breathing, and meditations, including guided progressive muscle relaxations.
Some people find that setting aside time to read, listen to relaxing music, or work on an enjoyable hobby, such as knitting or painting, can improve their mental health. Also, petting your dog or cat can provide additional anxiety-reducing, and stress-reducing benefits.
Reducing stress can help you avoid stress-induced migraines, but it can also support your overall well-being.
5. Stick with your prescribed treatment plans
Adhering to your prescribed treatment plans can greatly improve your quality of life. Here at the International Spine Pain & Performance Center, our team creates personalized migraine treatment plans that may include:
- Medication to prevent migraines
- Medications to help stop a migraine attack in progress
- Recommended lifestyle and dietary changes
- Nerve blocks
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Radiofrequency ablation
There’s no denying that migraines, especially chronic migraines, can zap your energy and wreak havoc on your quality of life. If you need help managing migraine pain, schedule an appointment in the office of your choice 一 Arlington, Virginia, or Washington DC, 一 or simply give us a call.