Women, Take These Steps to Cope with Migraines

There’s no doubt that suffering from migraines hurts. What can hurt just as much is the struggle to explain the life-altering episodes of pain to your boss, your doctors, and your loved ones. Migraines are unique for each person experiencing them; however, if you’ve lived with migraines for long, you likely have a few things in common with the millions of others who also live with the condition.

· Your migraines have forced you to be strict with yourself—you avoid having alcoholic beverages, go to bed early every night, restrict certain foods, and live in fear of the pain returning. Maybe you feel like you’re missing out.

· You’ve tried what feels like a hundred different treatments, yet still find yourself in a cool, dark room waiting out the storm.

· You feel guilty about the family gatherings, and workdays, your pain has forced you to miss. You start to get down on yourself, and may feel depressed.

Relatively little is known about where migraines come from, and why you get them, so it isn’t always easy to start effectively treating your migraines right away. It’s also possible that the people in your life don’t grasp the severity of your pain. It helps to remember that despite all the mystery surrounding these nasty headaches, the pain you’re feeling is real.

What is known about migraines?

· Migraines affect nearly three times as many women as men.

· Nearly 15% of migraines appear just before the menstrual cycle begins.

· Migraines do respond to different coping strategies. The hard part is finding out what works for you.

Steps you can take to cope with migraines

Talk to your doctor – There are various medications available to you that help reduce and treat migraines. Talking to your doctor gives you an ally in your struggle. If your migraines are related to getting your period, a doctor can help you find ways to balance hormonal fluctuations. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist who specializes in headache pain management. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and EMDR Therapy can also be helpful in treating and controlling migraine headache pain.

Reduce stress – Emotional and physical stress could be contributing factors when migraines persist. There are many different ways to reduce stress. Don’t feel guilty about making your own wellbeing a priority. If you’re at a desk looking at a computer for long periods of time, make a point of getting up, and stretching your legs. If your life at home and at work is stressful, practice deep breathing, and set aside time to unwind.

Stay healthy – Exercise, sleep, and nutrition are often the three biggest cornerstones of learning to cope with migraines. Eating regular meals every day and developing a consistent sleep schedule can harmonize your body and stave off the unbearable pain. Staying healthy is often an exercise in practical thinking—schedule an afternoon walk, avoid watching TV before bed, and give yourself enough time to eat breakfast each morning.

Know your triggers – In some cases, rigorous exercise, such as jogging or running, sets off migraine headaches. If this is the case for you, trying something like yoga or brisk walking can help you adapt and continue much-needed exercise. Undiscovered food allergies are another common culprit. Consider what foods you ate before each migraine’s onset; noticing patterns can help make life a lot easier for you in the long run. Migraine triggers can range from hormones to medications to too much sleep. Your trigger may not be a single thing, but may be several contributors with the last one putting you over a trigger threshold. Knowing the contributing triggers to  your migraines start can help you avoid or manage those triggers.

Reach out – Living with migraines can be very isolating. Many migraine sufferers feel discouraged. Consider admitting others entrance into your struggle. Seeking out migraine support groups, or the help of a therapist, might finally allow you to see that things really can get better.