External Factors That Could Be Triggering Your Migraine And What To Do About Them
Migraines affect up to ten per cent of the population, but relatively little is known about what causes them. Migraines can be debilitating. Intense pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound are just some of the symptoms that characterize a migraine.
There is some evidence that there might be a genetic component, as migraines tend to run in families. Others have suggested that they may be particularly sensitive to hormone changes since the majority of sufferers are female and migraines can be particularly severe during your period.
While there isn’t much you can do about the physiology involved, many migraines are also triggered by external factors too. These triggers, we have more control over.
According to research carried out by the American Headache Association, 80% of people with migraine identified stress as a trigger for their headaches. So it makes sense that by reducing stress, you can reduce the frequency and intensity of your attacks.
Reducing stress is easier said than done. Modern life is stressful enough and the last few years have been a very stressful time for a lot of people in the world. Between work, jobs, families, health and money worries, stress is all around us. In fact, people often experience migraines once a particularly stressful event is over. For example, if you’re having a particularly stressful week at work, you may not get a headache, but once the adrenaline has worn off and you begin to relax at the weekend, you’re more likely to have an attack.
A good start is to accept that you can control some elements of your life (and the stress they cause) but not others.
If money worries are giving you sleepless nights then burying your head in the sand isn’t going to help matters. In fact, it’s likely to make them worse. Get a grip on your financial state and make a plan to start reducing debts or give yourself breathing room with balance transfer or personal loan from someone like the professionals at www.plenti.com.au , make savings or make some extra money.
Start to incorporate stress-reducing activities into your days such as exercise and mindfulness.
The instances of migraine increase in certain weather conditions. Most often, it is when there is a significant pressure change. That’s why many people sensitive to migraines feel unwell before a big thunderstorm, but feel great once it has passed. Bright sun can also be a factor for many.
So you might be thinking, how can I control the weather? Well, it’s more about recognizing which weather conditions trigger your migraines and being as prepared as possible. Try to check the weather forecast a week in advance and make sure that you’re prepared with any medications, sunglasses and are as well hydrated as possible.
If you’re unsure if the weather is a factor in your headaches, try downloading a migraine tracking app that records the weather when you log a headache. It will show patterns surrounding your attacks.
Some people are very sensitive to odours. Strong perfumes, cleaning products, air fresheners and even cooking smells.
Avoid having these in your home and remember to stay away from the perfume section of the department store or anywhere they sell scented candles. For those days that you’re particularly sensitive, use a deodorant with a lighter scent.
Sunlight, artificial lights, flickering fluorescent lighting and computer screens can cause eye strain, which can set off a migraine. Always carry some good quality sunglasses with you and try and get as much natural lighting as you can into your home.
If you use a computer for work, there are things you can do such as ensuring you take regular breaks from your screen to rest your eyes. Think of the 20/20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away.
Many operating systems and phones now have something called ‘dark mode’ which reduces the amount of bright white on the screen. Instead, you more white text on a grey background.
Lack of quality sleep
A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to make yourself feel good. Lack of sleep is one of the most common migraine triggers. Interrupted, poor quality sleep and sleeping in on the weekends are all things that need to be corrected. A good sleep routine isn’t just for babies. You should begin winding down a few hours before bed. Your bedroom should be conducive to sleep, with a supporting mattress and pillow. Keep the room as dark as possible and keep it well ventilated. Most people find they sleep better in cooler temperatures.
Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time. Too much sleep can trigger an attack. Some doctors believe that this is because blood sugar dips too low if we sleep too long. If you’re desperate to enjoy a long, lazy morning in bed, wake yourself up briefly at the usual time, have a quick drink and a snack (keep them by the bed) and then you can go back to sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, acupuncture has been shown to be very successful in treating both insomnia and migraine. When choosing an acupuncturist, make sure that they have particular experience in treating people with migraines like yours.
Most people have an incorrect posture. We spend a lot of time slouched on sofas of hunched over computers. This can cause misalignment and tension in the neck, shoulders and back which leads to a headache.
Try to be more conscious of your posture when you’re sitting and standing. A visit to a chiropractor or physio can help you to realign your posture and reduce any tension that you are carrying.
Regular stretching exercises and yoga are all great for your posture and will help you to feel better too.
While we can live in hope for a migraine cure, there are still things we can do to try and reduce the number of attacks by making certain lifestyle changes and becoming more organised with dealing with attacks. This, alongside any prescribed medication, can greatly improve the quality of life of sufferers.