Simple Steps to Combat Migraines

It is estimated that 45 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches and most of them are looking for treatment that brings them relief.  Having suffered from a few of these headaches myself, I can remember being willing to endure almost any treatment and try almost any suggestion just to get the pain, nausea and other symptoms to stop.  I even found myself in the emergency room several times because the pain was so bad.

Over time, I learned that there are things that we can do to help manage migraines and some of them have to do with lifestyle.  Getting enough sleep, managing stress, getting some exercise and avoiding certain food triggers can go a long way toward relieving the severity, intensity and/or frequency of migraines.

Sleep is necessary to keep us functioning well.  According to the Better Sleep Council, 65% of Americans lose sleep due to stress, which also happens to be a trigger for migraines.  It is important to determine the best bedtime for you so that you can get 7 to 9 hours of sleep most nights, if not every night.  It is important to be as regular about this as possible so that your body develops a wake-sleep cycle that works and helps to avoid migraines and other health issues.

Controlling tension headaches before they become migraines is essential.  Usually, with a tension headache, the muscles in the neck, head and scalp tighten and feel like there is pressure around the head.  Because these headaches are usually brought on by stress, controlling stress levels is an important part of controlling headaches.  Deep breathing, removing yourself from the task at hand for 5 to 10 minutes if possible and learning how to deal with stressful situations in a positive way can help.  Talk to your healthcare provider about your individual situation if you have been under stress and are having trouble controlling it.

Getting exercise can also help control headaches because exercise makes the muscles more flexible.  As a result, they will not tighten as quickly or severely, which can eliminate this source of headaches.  In addition, exercise helps control other health issues that could contribute to migraines.  Exercising can lower blood pressure – a major culprit in migraines – and help keep the cardiovascular system working properly.

By incorporating these few steps into your life it can minimize the effect that migraines have.  It may still be necessary to take some medication, and you will still probably experience some of these debilitating headaches, but they should be fewer, further between and less painful.

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