A migraine is no ordinary headache. Migraine suffers experience more than just discomfort. Migraines often come with visual changes, auras, extreme sensitivity to light and debilitating pain that can last for hours or even days.
If you suffer from migraines, you want to minimize the symptoms as much as possible. While there is no surefire cure for migraines, medications have made the chronic condition easier to deal with. Taking a migraine medicine at the first hint of a problem can stop a small headache from becoming a full-fledged migraine.
Knowing your specific migraine triggers can make the medication you keep on hand more effective. Since time is of the essence, having a good idea of what can set off a migraine allows you to treat it quickly.
Every migraine sufferer has different triggers, and keeping a headache diary is one of the best strategies. It can be hard to recreate the circumstances surrounding a migraine after the fact. Writing things down immediately can make identifying specific triggers much easier.
Foods can often trigger migraine symptoms in sensitive people. Dairy products can trigger their migraines, as can chocolate and other sweets. Some migraine sufferers have problems with dried fruits and trail-mix products, while others experience symptoms after consuming processed meats. Since virtually any food can trigger a migraine, keeping a food diary and noting headache symptoms is the best strategy.
Food is not the only thing that can trigger a migraine. Environmental factors often play a role as well. Again, keeping a headache diary is a smart move, since it can help sufferers identify and avoid the things that trigger migraines in that particular person.
Stress is thought to play a role in minor headaches, but it can also be a significant trigger for migraine sufferers. Avoiding stress is good for your health anyway, but staying relaxed can be even more essential for migraine sufferers.
Bright lights can also trigger migraines in sensitive people. Migraine suffers often use dimmer switches or keep the lights turned low at the office to avoid migraine symptoms. Going from darkness into bright sunlight can also trigger migraines, so donning sunglasses when heading outside can be an effective coping mechanism.
Disturbances to normal sleep patterns can trigger migraines in many people. Getting too little or too much sleep can trigger a headache and the associated visual changes. Establishing a set sleep schedule and using good sleep hygiene is one way to avoid this trigger. Migraine sufferers who plan to travel can slowly adjust their sleep patterns in the days leading up to the trip to mitigate the impact of jet lag.
It has long been known that women suffer from migraines more than men. While doctors are not entirely sure why, some women report that migraine symptoms are worse during their monthly menstrual cycles. There may not be much women can do about that, other than keeping their migraine medication on hand.
Dealing with migraines can be difficult, but knowing your triggers will make the process easier. Keeping a detailed headache diary can help you identify the triggers and treat the condition more effectively.