Via: Gina Shaw for WebMD
What are the most important lifestyle changes to make in order to get your migraines under control?
They’re not always the same for everyone. What helps one person with migraine may have no effect on someone else.
But some of the things you can try to keep migraines under control include:
1. Regiment Your Life
If migraine were a person, it’d be the cranky guy next door yelling, “You rotten kids, get off my lawn!”
Migraine doesn’t like excitement. When your life gets eventful and unpredictable, migraine flares up.
“Be boring,” says neurologist Gretchen Tietjen, MD, director of the University of Toledo’s Headache Treatment and Research Program.
“Keep a regular schedule. Make sure you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. Get an adequate amount of sleep, but don’t oversleep. Eat your meals on a regular schedule.”
2. Nourish Your Body
“When I get dehydrated or skip meals, that’s a huge migraine trigger,” Metzger says.
That’s not unusual, Tietjen says. “People with headache tend to be much more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration.”
Always keep a bottle of water and a snack handy: Peanut butter and an apple, or mild cheese and crackers, are good protein-carb combos.
3. Get Moving
“Daily exercise appears to be very helpful for many people with migraine, especially when they begin the day with it,” Tietjen says.
She points out that a growing body of research suggests that yoga, in particular, is beneficial to migraine patients.
However, exercise is a migraine trigger for some people. The issue sometimes is making the workout too intense, too quickly — or becoming dehydrated. So aim for moderate exercise and be sure to hydrate before and after.
If you are not active now, you may want to check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
4. Reduce Stress
“Stress seems to be one of the biggest lifestyle factors associated with migraine,” Tietjen says.
Of course, you can’t get rid of all stress. But there are things you can do.
“Learning stress management techniques, like biofeedback, meditation, and cognitive behavioral strategies, is absolutely imperative for people with frequent headaches,” Tietjen says.
Keeping a journal is the best way to figure out which lifestyle factors may play a role in your migraines, Tietjen says.
Every day, write down what you ate and drank and when; when and if you exercised; when you went to bed and got up; and any big stresses you experienced. Record when you get migraines. After a few weeks, you can start to look for patterns in your journal.
“A lot of people will find that none of the identified triggers apply to them,” Friedman warns. “And some triggers you can’t do anything about. For example, strong odors trigger migraine for many people, and there’s only so much you can do about your coworker’s stinky perfume.”
But if you can identify lifestyle factors that trigger migraines that are modifiable — such as when you’re eating and how much you’re sleeping — you may be able to find some relief.