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6 Remedies to Get Rid of Migraine

JC has experienced migraine episodes for almost half of her life. This experience leads her to learn different ways to manage the condition

Article Overview

  • Introduction
  • What is Migraine?
  • How do I deal with migraine?
  • What to Expect After a Migraine?
  • Outlook

Introduction

Migraine is often an inconvenient and painful experience for individuals suffering from it. In some instances, it can even interfere with one’s daily activities.

Personally, I have been suffering from migraines since seventh grade, which is about nine years now. During this period, I have experienced varying degrees of migraine attacks as well as various frequencies. During the early years of the onset of my migraine attacks, I experienced them once or twice a month, or once every few months. Years later, they became more persistent, appearing several times a week. It even came to a point where I was having them twice a day. Recently, they have become less persistent by having them once a month or every few months.

Since migraine is a condition with no cure up to this day, I have eventually learned to adapt over the years with several habits that help me deal with it and its symptoms.

The things that will be discussed in this article usually help me ease the pain that it causes, which eventually helps me get on with my day. If you are also suffering from migraines, these things may also help you ease your pain, but it is also important to note that we experience and feel things differently. Hence, what works for me may not work for you. It is still best to consult a physician and to be mindful of your own symptoms.

Migraine is a painful and unpleasant experience that can affect one's daily activities.

Migraine is a painful and unpleasant experience that can affect one's daily activities.

What is Migraine?

According to Mayo Clinic (2021), migraine is a neurological condition and a type of headache that is usually presented as a moderate or severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity of senses – usually of light and sound. It typically lasts from 4 to 72 hours.

One of the significant features of migraine is the presence of an aura before or during the attacks. These auras may be in different forms, and they vary from person to person. They may look like,

  • visual phenomena in a form of bright spots, flashes of lights, lines, or various black shapes or spots,
  • a blurry vision to a loss of vision,
  • tunnel vision,
  • a feeling of tingling sensation in one part of the body,
  • numbness of the face or one side of the body,
  • difficulty speaking, and
  • sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as with light, sound, and smell.

In my case, I usually experience a visual phenomenon, blurry vision, tunnel vision, and sensitivity to sensory stimuli with migraines accompanied by nausea. I have experienced a loss of vision in both of my eyes once when I was in ninth grade, but it never happened again so far.

Most of the time, auras are followed by migraines, but there are also instances where there is a presence of migraine headache without an aura, or there can be a presence of aura without a migraine headache.

How do I Deal with Migraine?

Since migraine has no cure, it is something to live out with. This is a list of what I do to alleviate or reduce the symptoms of my migraine attacks. It is important to note that none of the things mentioned here can be a substitute for a physician’s advice.

1. Watch Out for Triggers

Identify your migraine triggers by keeping track of your attacks with the use of a migraine log or diary.

Identify your migraine triggers by keeping track of your attacks with the use of a migraine log or diary.

Let’s first discuss preventing the migraine attacks themselves. Unlike other types of headaches, migraine can have a variety of triggers prior to the attack. These triggers may include,

  • Hormonal changes. Women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men. One main reason is the hormonal changes that women may experience during their menstrual periods, pregnancy, or menopause. Hormonal changes are likely the reason why some women experience moderate to severe headaches during their periods
  • Stress. Psychosocial factors such as stress can also cause migraines. For example, one may experience migraine while experiencing considerable stress at work or at home.
  • Sensory stimuli. Being exposed to extreme stimuli such as loud music, strong scents, and strong or flashing lights may trigger a migraine attack.
  • Physical exhaustion. Intense physical activities may also trigger migraines.
  • Weather changes. Changes in the weather or barometric pressure can be a factor that triggers migraine. For example, if the weather changes from hot to cold.
  • Sleep changes. Changes in one’s sleeping pattern or lack of sleep can prompt a migraine
  • Drinks. Beverages such as alcohol and too much caffeine are also factors that can trigger migraine.
  • Foods. Salty foods, cheese, and food additives are some of the factors responsible for migraines in some people.
  • Skipping meals. Skipping a meal can also be as responsible as some foods that can trigger migraine.
  • Medications. Some medicines may also trigger or aggravate a migraine attack.

Factors that can trigger migraine may be different from one person to another – one may be prone to migraines when the weather changes but not others.

It took me several years to notice and identify my own migraine triggers. Usually, my migraines were triggered by lack of sleep, extreme sensory stimuli – specifically by bright lights, skipping meals, weather changes, and hormonal changes. Rarely, it is also triggered by physical exhaustion and stress.

How will this help in preventing migraines?

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Simple, by knowing your migraine triggers, you may have a way to prevent it by avoiding the triggers as much as possible. If a certain type of food triggers your migraine, avoid eating that food or reduce your consumption. If it is lack of sleep, have an adequate amount of sleep, and so on. The best way to identify migraine triggers is by keeping track of your attacks using a migraine log or diary.

Migraine logs or diary is a record of important information about one's migraine attacks. information may include symptoms, starting and ending date, severity of the attacks, etc.

My migraine log contains the following information:

  • Date and time of the start of the migraine attack
  • Severity of pain (mind, moderate, or severe)
  • Possible trigger/s
  • Symptoms
  • Medication and dosage (If applicable)
  • Date and time of the end of the migraine attack

Preventing migraines is much better than dealing with them during the attack.

Now, avoiding the triggers is not an absolute assurance that migraines will be prevented all the time, and sometimes it is not possible to avoid the triggers. If you have migraines, migraine attacks will still occur. Hence, let’s proceed with the things that help me reduce or stop my migraine symptoms.

2. Eat

Eat a meal or treat yourself with your comfort foods.

Eat a meal or treat yourself with your comfort foods.

As mentioned earlier, some foods and even skipping meals can trigger migraine attacks, but eating can also alleviate the migraine during an attack.

It may be hard to do anything during a moderate to severe migraine attack, and it can be harder to eat because of nausea. From my experience, however, eating a meal can reduce or even alleviate migraines. On the other hand, having something in the stomach will also make it easier to throw up due to nausea. Throwing up with an empty stomach is an unpleasant experience. An empty stomach can also make migraine symptoms worse.

Sometimes, eating sweets also reduces the pain of my migraine attacks.

3. Take a Nap or Have a Few Hours of Sleep

Always have enough amount of sleep to avoid migraines triggered by lack of sleep.

Always have enough amount of sleep to avoid migraines triggered by lack of sleep.

Adequate sleep works wonders for the human body by promoting rest and recovery. Sleep is even an effective way to alleviate the pain and symptoms of some types of headaches.

In my case, however, naps or even sleep are not always effective in reducing my migraine symptoms. Most of the time, both the migraine symptoms and the throbbing pain are still present even after sleeping. The only instance when sleeping helps in reducing my migraine symptoms is when the migraine is due to a lack of sleep. Regardless, sleeping off my symptoms still helps in reducing their severity.

4. Avoid Stimulating Environment

Places like bedrooms and living rooms (such as what is shown in the picture) with quiet and dark ambiance are the best place to sleep and rest during a migraine attack.

Places like bedrooms and living rooms (such as what is shown in the picture) with quiet and dark ambiance are the best place to sleep and rest during a migraine attack.

When an individual has a migraine attack, their senses are more sensitive than usual. The light in the house can be painfully brighter, the sound of the stereo may appear painfully loud, and the usual smells that normally have no effect on them may make them feel more nauseous. The bottom line is, migraine symptoms get worse if the person’s senses are being stimulated by their environment.

In this case, I tend to avoid stimulating environment by doing the following,

  • Going to a dark room – lying down to rest in a dark room usually helps me in reducing my migraine symptoms or even in eliminating them. Most of the time, I immediately go to a dark room even with just the presence of an aura. If it is impossible to access a dark room, I use an eye cover as an alternative. There are instances, however, where I cannot afford to lie down and rest so. In this case, I wear sunglasses, even inside the house, while trying to do the important matters that I had to attend to. It is not as effective as resting in a dark room or with an eye cover, but it helps. The darker the sunglasses, the better.
  • Staying away from a loud environment – Just like the idea of the dark room, a quiet room will likely be a less stimulating environment in terms of sound. A quiet environment will not aggravate migraine symptoms, and it will help in easing the pain.
  • Avoiding strong scents – Strong scents are the worst for nausea. Avoiding them will not exactly reduce migraine symptoms, but it will not worsen them.

5. Throw Up And/Or Defacate

Do not keep yourself from throwing up or defecating during a migraine attack.

Do not keep yourself from throwing up or defecating during a migraine attack.

One known symptom of migraine is nausea and along with it is vomiting. Experts have not yet found a definitive explanation but many individuals suffering from migraines report feeling ease and relief from migraine after throwing up.

Regardless of the explanation, vomiting may be unpleasant but feeling it can relieve migraines. Hence, if you like throwing up during a migraine attack, throw up. Do not hold it. Do the same thing with defecation because it has a similar effect on migraines.

However, self-induced vomiting is not advisable because of many reasons, one of which concerns oral health. The acid from the stomach can destroy the teeth and even cause bad breath.

6. Take Medication

For medicines to take for your migraine and symptoms, always consult your physician.

For medicines to take for your migraine and symptoms, always consult your physician.

It is always my last option to take medicines for my migraines. If I can handle the pain and its symptoms, I rather endure it and try to relieve it with the things mentioned earlier first. However, some migraines are severe and unbearable so taking medications becomes my option.

For my migraine, my go-to is over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol

Other medications such as nausea medicines and medicines for chemicals in the brain which can help with migraine may also work. If you prefer taking medicine for your migraines, it is best to consult a physician to have an effective prescription for your condition.

What to Expect After a Migraine?

The migraine attack is the worst part, but it does not mean that you are totally free from the symptoms. After a migraine attack, it is normal to feel drained and exhausted for several hours to a day. During this period, brief pains may still occur when you move your head. Nothing much can be done during this stage but to let it pass.

If you can, take the rest of the day to rest and take some time off your usual activities. Grab the opportunity to take good care of yourself.

Use your migraine aftermath period as your unscheduled "Me Time".

Use your migraine aftermath period as your unscheduled "Me Time".

Outlook

Migraine attacks will always be one of the worst feelings I will ever have—they are bad, painful, and inconvenient. The attacks can leave an individual non-functional for several hours, even after the attack itself. It takes a lot of time to recover from it.

Since it is out of my control, I tend to take it as my body's call to pause and have a break from whatever I am doing.

Moreover, these experiences may be common to most individuals with migraines, but not all migraines are similar. Understanding oneself and knowing your personal preferences is the key to dealing with migraines in the long run.

Stay fit and healthy!

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Justine Clayre Guiao

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