Self-Care for Migraines – HealthyWomen

Retired registered nurse Michelle Clapham was 11 or 12 years old when she started experiencing migraine attacks, about six months after she started getting her period. “I told my mom and she explained to me that a lot of women on her side of the family had them,” she Clapham said. “When I have a migraine, I feel like my head is in a vise, like someone is squeezing me. It’s throbbing and sometimes I get nauseous with sensitivity to light. At its worst, I was in the middle of winter in my garage, barefoot on the cold concrete floor. That felt better than my headache. “Anything to distract me from the pain.”

After experiencing one to three migraine attacks a month for decades, Clapham, now 63, has had fewer migraine attacks since going through menopause.

Migraine is a disease that causes significant pain and affects quality of life. It is one of the most common
Neurological disorders in the world.. About 39 million people live with migraine in the United States.

Although migraine affects both men and women, you are
three or four times more likely have migraine attacks if you are a woman. Migraine attacks too last longer and have more severe symptoms in women.

Studies show that people who are in
Lower socioeconomic groups have more migraine attacks.. And getting care for migraine isn’t always easy if you’re black or Hispanic. In fact, black and Hispanic people are 25% and 50% less likely to be diagnosed with migraine, respectively, compared to white people.

Migraine Triggers

There are many possible triggers for migraine attacks and it can be difficult to identify what causes them. A common trigger for women is changes in their hormone levels, which is why some women find relief once they enter menopause. “It has a lot to do with hormones,” said Rashmi B. Halker Singh, MD, a neurologist and member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council. “Approximately a third of women will suffer from migraines around puberty. The common thing is that migraines continue to be present throughout the fertile age and that has a lot to do with estrogen fluctuations.”

Other common migraine triggers include:

  • Stress
  • bright lights
  • strong odors
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Certain foods or drinks
  • Weather changes

Self-care for migraines

Not all migraine attacks can be prevented, and there are medications that can help prevent or treat migraines once they occur. Self-care is also crucial when recognizing a trigger. Learning to avoid triggers in the first place is another important step to
migraine self-care.

Avoid triggers. If your migraine attacks are caused by common triggers such as lack of sleep, being too hungry, or being stressed, there are steps you can take to reduce the number of attacks you experience. Maybe you can carry healthy snacks with you to make sure you always have something to eat if you need it. It may not be easy, but try to sleep on a regular schedule and identify methods to help you manage stress, such as practicing meditation or consulting a mental health professional.

Start early. If you get a aura (a warning that a migraine attack is coming), try to start self-care right away. If you don’t get any warning, start at the first sign of a migraine attack. Depending on what works for you, that might mean going to a dark room and resting, turning off any screens, applying hot or cold compresses to your head or neck, taking a warm shower, eating something, or hydrating.

Eat a healthy diet. eating one healthy diet Reduces the risk of suffering from all types of diseases, and migraine is one of them. Following a healthy diet can also help minimize the number of migraine attacks you experience or their severity when you experience them. It is also important to avoid known food triggers.

Exercise regularly. Exercising regularly is always a good idea for physical, mental and brain health. Exercise can reduce stress, which can help improve migraine attacks. But there is also another reason. there is evidence that aerobic exercise can help reduce how often you have a migraine attack, its duration, and its severity.

How to deal with migraine in the workplace

No matter how many migraine attacks you experience, they can have an impact on your work life. If your migraine doesn’t go away with medication, Halker Singh suggests asking your healthcare provider if a preventative medication might help. There is Many types of preventive migraine medications, ranging from blood pressure lowering medications and antidepressants to Botox injections and specific migraine medications. They may reduce the number of migraine attacks you experience and may also decrease the symptoms of those that still occur.

If your migraine attacks are having an impact on your work, you can talk to your coworkers, your boss, or the company’s human resources department about things you can do to prevent them or what to do if you experience one while you’re there. Migraine illness can fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning that employers must make reasonable accommodations for their employees with migraine. Accommodations can range from initiating an anti-odor policy for employees to providing dark, quiet bathrooms, among others.

you don’t have to suffer

Halker Singh is excited about the future of migraine care. “We have made many advances in our understanding of migraine and the treatment options we have available,” he said. “We have so many things we can offer now. I think this is a moment of hope. And more progress is coming.”

Until then, practice self-care to minimize the effects if you suffer from a migraine.

This educational resource was created with the support of Pfizer.

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