Your head hurts. It starts as a low rumble, but quickly explodes into an uncontrollable sensation of pain, nausea, and vision problems. It’s a migraine, and it’s awful. Migraines can occur in children and adults and, believe it or not, many doctors still don’t understand the root causes of them. With that said, there are treatments out there today that help to control migraines. Even so, it’s best to log triggers so that you can avoid them.
If you’re a drinker, stop. Alcohol is one of the most common triggers for migraines – especially red wine with its high concentration of tannins. But, any alcohol can trigger an episode. If you’re a regular drinker and you’re finding it difficult to stop, you might benefit from social support.
No, you don’t need AA, but maybe websites like non12step-drugrehabs.org can help – it offers a non AA alternative to understanding and controlling alcohol use, especially when it’s habitual.
Drugs are another common trigger. If you use or abuse drugs, you may need medical help as well as psychological help to break the addiction. Understandably, it’s tough to do, but it usually helps control symptoms.
Stress is a major trigger, and one that most people are exposed to on a daily basis. Chronic stress comes from work, a busy home life, and even from spouses and romantic partners who, while loving, don’t really understand your condition fully.
Minimizing stress can be difficult, especially if you lead a busy life. But, meditation can help – especially Yoga-based meditation. Suntheanine, a patented form of the natural amino acid l-theanine (found in green tea) is clinically proven to promote relaxation.
Finally, maybe you just need to chill out once in a while. When’s the last time you sat down by the pool and soaked up the sun? What about talking a walk around the neighborhood or jamming to your favorite tunes? What about playing retro video games or going to the park? Find a playful way to relax.
Smoking is a known trigger for migraines, and it’s also a nasty habit that destroys your lungs and increases your risk of lung cancer. There are many approaches to quitting – all of them hard. Some of the best ways include behavioral modification, where you disassociate daily tasks from the smoking habit. For example, if you regularly smoke after breakfast, try doing something else – focusing solely on the cigarette after breakfast. Once you have stopped smoking in the morning, fight the next battle – lunch, or whenever else you smoke next.
In this way, you’re fighting one battle at a time instead of quitting cold turkey. And then there’s the cold turkey approach. Quitting for 3 days will flush the chemicals out of your system. From there, you’ll be dealing with the psychological addiction which may require a psychotherapist.
If you have food triggers, they will become apparent rather quickly. However, many people have food triggers and don’t know what they are. Non-IgE food sensitivity tests, like the LEAP MRT or other food tests may help you uncover food sensitivities that are causing your migraines. Once you know which foods provoke an inflammatory response, you can avoid them.
Migraine treatments vary from pills to nutritional therapy. The Life Extension Foundation has even make a “cure” available. The organization claims that an imbalance of hormones and nutritional deficiencies are often to blame. Talk with your doctor about which treatment options make the most sense for you, if you believe you absolutely need medical intervention.
Steve Tucker is a medical professional with a deep sense of responsibility for his patients. When not at his practice, he often blogs about common ailments and how to treat them effectively.