I get migraines at least once a month. Mine are hormonal, so until I slog my way through menopause, my migraines will be like really inconvenient clockwork. I thought I’d share how I deal with them. YMMV.
• Know Your Triggers: My migraines are hormonally-triggered, so there’s nothing I can avoid to avoid migraines. But you might be more lucky. Journal what you eat/drink and your habits. You might spot a pattern. Some people experience migraines as a part of an allergic reaction, often to things like chocolate. Some people experience them when they eat too many rich foods. You may also experience migraines if you consume too much or too little caffeine.
• Know the Signs: It’s so important to know when you’re headed toward Migraine City. For me, I start with kind of an odd, vague, soft headache that lasts for an hour or so. It’s not bad, just annoying. My sensitivity to light and sound slowly builds. My digestion grinds to a halt, so anything I eat gives me a terrible stomach ache.
• Intervene Early: I’ve recently managed to find the right combination of treatments that can alleviate a lot of my migraine pain, but I absolutely have to act early. During my soft headache, I’ll take a bunch of migraine-specific pain relievers (you should consult your doctor. Taking too much of any medication causes damage to your body, dude!) I’ll also try to get myself to a place where I can “Migraine Crash”–my bed is my preference–that’s quiet and with the lights out or soft.
• Let Your Hair Down: Scalp tension can exacerbate any headache (that’s where the pain actually is, anyway.) Taking my hair down and making sure it’s resting in its natural position always makes my migraine a little more bearable. A scalp massage couldn’t hurt, either.
• Long, Hot Shower: A hot shower always helps me with any headache, but especially my migraines. I just stand directly under the flow, close my eyes and cover my ears. The hot water on my scalp, neck, face and shoulders feels like magic. When I get out of the shower, I often use hot compresses on my face.
• Tampons: Whether this is purely anecdotal or science, I find it helps to avoid tampons during my migraine.
• Sleep It Off: If you can’t beat it, you may be able to sleep through it. Either way, laying down in a dark, quiet space will almost certainly feel great.
• The Wrap-up: When I emerge from a migraine, I’m usually in a bit of a fog. I take it easy for a while and continue to avoid loud noises and bright lights for as long as I can. My digestion has usually gotten itself back on track, so I have a light snack. Water is always a good idea at this time (and all the time!) If I didn’t take a shower before, I almost always do during the wrap-up phase. I also like to do a little extremely light yoga or stretching, just to get to a place where I’m alert but relaxed.