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Finding Relief From Migraine

May 14, 2024
Migraine is much more than just a throbbing headache. It often comes with other woes — from nausea and vomiting to fatigue, numbness, and blurry vision. It can last a few hours or days and take a major toll on your daily life.
The American Migraine Foundation estimates that at least 39 million Americans live with migraine. But the actual number of people with migraine is likely much higher. That’s because the symptoms of migraine can be challenging to diagnose.
If you or someone you love has migraine-like headaches, here’s some helpful information about what causes migraine and how to treat a migraine attack.

What Causes Migraine Attacks?

Many factors can cause migraine attacks. According to the National Institutes of Health, the top 10 risk triggers for migraine are:
  1. Stress at work or home.
  2. Hormonal changes, such as during your period or pregnancy. 
  3. Poor sleep, including disruptions to your sleep schedule or not sleeping enough.
  4. Changes in the weather.
  5. Certain foods, such as aged cheeses, processed food, and artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
  6. Skipping meals.
  7. Caffeine and alcohol, especially wine, which can lead to dehydration.
  8. Exposure to strong odors, bright lights, and loud noises.
  9. Smoking, vaping, and other tobacco products.
  10. Certain medications, including pain relievers, contraceptives, and hormone replacement therapy.

How Do You Know If It’s Migraine?

The Mayo Clinic says that migraine attacks can last up to 72 hours and are often accompanied by one or more of these symptoms:
  • Intense, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head
  • Blurred vision or seeing zigzag lines or flashing lights
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, smell, sound, and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting

What Are Ways To Prevent Or Treat Migraine?

Migraine doesn’t have a cure, but there are ways to reduce its frequency and intensity. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They might be able to prescribe a medication that either stops a migraine attack in its tracks or helps prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you feel a migraine attack coming on:
  • Take any medications your doctor has prescribed for migraine attacks.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Lay down in a dark, quiet room.
  • Apply an ice pack or heating pad to your neck, shoulders, or forehead.
  • Drink a small amount of caffeine.
Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can also help prevent and treat migraine. These include:
  • Physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture.
  • Relaxation exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and biofeedback.
  • Low-impact exercise like stretching, walking, cycling, or using an elliptical machine.
  • Getting enough sleep and maintaining regular patterns.
  • Quitting smoking or vaping.
  • Eating regular, healthy meals.

Don’t Let Migraine Keep You Down

Talk to your doctor about what treatment might work best for you. With a knowledgeable approach to treatment, you can help prevent and treat headaches — and regain your quality of life.
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