Lifestyle changes can often help with chronic conditions, and that is the case with chronic migraine pain. If you regularly have migraines, you know how disruptive they can be, but there are a few things you can do that may help limit the number of migraines you have.
Modern life is stressful, and many of the stresses that people deal with now are relatively new. Social media and internet access mean that we are exposed to headline news constantly, and they sometimes create pressure to be, or at least to appear to be, a perfect parent who’s stylish and happy all the time.
If you have migraines, stress may play a role, so finding a way to relax is likely to help reduce the number of headaches you have. Some helpful stress reduction techniques include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Learning about conflict resolution
- Time alone each day
- Finding and participating in a hobby activity
- Reducing the number of obligations and commitments you have
There are many ways to reduce stress, but among the most important is making the commitment to prioritize relaxation. Consciously taking time to reduce your stress level is is one of the best forms of preventive medicine.
Development of a sleep schedule
Poor sleep is associated with several chronic conditions, including chronic migraine pain. Experts are not sure why, but following a regular sleep pattern seems to help limit migraines. Good sleep habits include:
- Going to bed at the same time each day
- Waking up at the same time. Sleeping in may seem like a luxury, but it may be unhelpful.
- Limiting screen use before bed. Putting away your electronic devices an hour before bed can help you fall asleep.
- Using your bedroom only for sex and sleeping.
- Developing a regular bedtime routine.
Exercise reduces stress, keeps your heart healthy, and helps your joints stay mobile and functional. Even if you’re the kind of person who hates exercise, you should try to find an activity that you enjoy that will help keep you moving because there are so many benefits.
Not all exercise happens in the gym. Simply taking a 30-minute walk each day can vastly improve your health and may limit the number of migraines you have. Hiking, gardening, and many other activities provide health benefits and may decrease your risk of migraines.
When and what you eat matters
For some people, skipping a meal can be a migraine trigger. Even if it isn’t one of your triggers, eating on a regular schedule is associated with fewer migraines. Eat each meal at about the same time each day.
You should also maintain a nutritious, balanced diet that includes a healthy breakfast. Several foods and beverages are common migraine triggers, so paying a bit of extra attention to what you eat could help you identify your triggers as well as lower the number of headaches you have overall.
Maintain a headache journal
Noting what you ate, what you were doing, where you were, and other details each time you have a headache may help you and your Wolmed healthcare provider identify triggers that cause your migraines.
Knowing your personal triggers is a huge step toward avoiding migraine pain. If you know that strong smells will cause a migraine, you can carefully choose products to use in your home, or if you know that loud sounds trigger migraines, you can carry earplugs with you. Your triggers are unique to you, so keeping a journal is important in discovering what they are.