Migraines were becoming a part of motherhood for me. It seemed every other day I was suffering with a migraine. Sometimes these unwanted visitors kept me in bed for hours — even days. However, life didn’t stop. My family still needed meals, the house still needed to be cleaned and several kids needed to finish their home-school day. Migraines were definitely adding stress to my family’s life.
Finally, I was able to talk to a doctor about the recurring migraines. In fact, I was able to meet with a neurologist who gave me some very helpful tips that I want to share them with you. I feel guilty keeping the information to myself!
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First, let me begin by saying I am not a medical professional. But, through another illness, I was able to see a neurologist to find out what triggered my migraines and how to manage them.
Unfortunately, most migraine sufferers are women. So. Not. Fair. Women still have to be moms even when they are suffering from a migraine — and that is not a fun situation.
Unless I have a severe infection or illness, my migraines only last from a few hours to a day. When I have infections, I have had intense migraines that have lasted for an entire week. It seems my body enjoys fighting off infections with intense, unrelenting throbbing pain in my head. Sigh. But, my headaches and migraines are less frequent now, as well as manageable when I follow the doctor’s orders. I hope these tips work amazingly for you too, because you need to enjoy your journey of motherhood!
Tips for Preventing and Managing Migraines From a Doctor
- Avoid certain foods. If you’re like me, you’re a chocolate fan. What mom isn’t? But one of my favorite foods can easily trigger a migraine. But, guess what? Chocolate isn’t the only enemy. Here is the list the neurologist gave me of trigger foods for migraines: cheese, fatty foods, caffeine-heavy foods or drink and alcohol. All of those are on the “do not consume unless you want a migraine” list. For me, I can sneak by with some dark chocolate or a little bit of milk chocolate, but I can’t eat a candy bar, then drink chocolate milk and eat a chocolate piece of cake. Cheese is also one of my enemies and tends to send painful shock-waves to my head.
- Keep a food journal. Whenever a migraine begins, write down the food and beverages you consumed that day. Look for common factors and then remove the foods/drinks that seem to be contributing to your migraines. Sometimes the process of elimination helps you pinpoint the exact trigger if your migraines are food-related.
- Avoid strong perfume or cologne. Strong scents, especially those in perfumes and colognes, can easily trigger headaches. I use softer fragrances from Bath and Body works so it’s not overpowering. I avoid all other perfumes and lotions.
- Stay away from loud sounds. Constant loud sounds, like the ones you find at the arcade or indoor kids’ play places can easily trigger a migraine. If you are super sensitive to sound, consider taking earphones for your phone and listening to some soft and calming music when you are in loud surroundings. But, if you can just avoid the scenery, avoid it.
- Flashing and bright lights are a “no-go.” Even driving at night with all the lights can trigger a migraine for me. If my husband is driving, I close my eyes or cover my head. Lights are a huge trigger for me.
- Stay calm. Unexpected guests are coming in five minutes. Kids have wrecked the toy room. You’re running late for a doctor’s appointment. The kids are fussing — again. Dinner is burned — again. All those little things can add up fast, and before you know it, you can become engulfed in stress. If you suffer from migraines frequently, then stress just may be one of your triggers. Try to calm down, find a quiet place to collect yourself and cut back on unnecessary responsibilities.
- Stay cool. This is a tough one for me, but I still try to make it happen. I seriously feel the migraines coming on when I get hot and sweaty. Obviously working out is great, so keep that up, just in a cool environment. If you need to do yard-work, plan on accomplishing that task in the early morning or early evening. Often times I will be sweeping my yard at 11 am and will feel a migraine coming on. I have to stop sweeping and finish up later that evening. Plan your chores and activities around the heat and your body will thank you!
- Take action in the first 30 minutes. This was the strangest thing the neaurologist said to me. He told me that if I know a migraine is coming on, to stop everything and deal with it. He said for the first 20 minutes, lie down in a quiet, dark room with a cold cloth on my head and try to relax. If after 20 minutes there is not relief, then take the pain reliever, naproxyn. He also said that if you do not take a pain reliever in the first 30 minutes of a migraine, it is almost impossible to get needed relief. The sooner you deal with a migraine, the better.
I cannot begin to say how glad I was to be able to meet with a neurologist that cared and answered all my questions. He was patient, understanding and thorough. I truly hope these tips help you prevent and manage your migraines.
If you have different tips to share, connect with us on social media or email me! I would love to hear what solutions work for you!
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