Migraine is a debilitating neurological disease that causes recurrent episodes of pain lasting 4 to 72 hours; and that are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, and vision changes. This disease impacts all areas of a person’s life, including the ability to fully participate in family, social, and work activities. In fact, the study found that people living with migraine did not know how to improve the management of their disease.
“The perception of patients is that there is room for improvement in the knowledge of health professionals about migraine, since almost a quarter of patients feel that their doctor has not sufficiently understood their condition,” says Elena Ruiz de la Torre, executive director of the European Migraine and Headache Alliance.
There are several factors that can contribute to its appearance. Changes in sleep patterns and hormone levels, and even changes in the weather, can trigger migraines. Sometimes just eating a certain food is enough. Dr. Amaal Starling, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, shares five lifestyle changes that can help manage migraines:
- Eat healthy
- Avoid dehydration
- Control stress
Dr. Starling recommends avoiding sleep pattern changes, even on weekends, if possible.
“Some of my patients say, ‘I get migraines on the weekends when I’m not working,’ and I ask them, ‘Well, what time do you normally wake up? What time do you go to sleep?’. There is usually a very marked difference between the usual hours and those of the weekends, and that can cause migraine attacks, “he says. “Consistency in sleep pattern is very important.”
Following a schedule for exercise can be very important and can raise the threshold for migraine. “According to studies, about 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week works as well as some of the medications we prescribe,” says Dr. Starling.
He advises eating healthy whole foods and not skipping meals. “You should avoid processed foods and try not to get too high (peak) and too low (trough) blood glucose,” says Dr. Starling. “You also have to avoid skipping meals. These are all tools to raise that threshold.”
Stay well hydrated
“This is very important, especially during the winter months. People, in winter, because it’s colder, they don’t feel as thirsty and in fact they become more dehydrated than during the summer, “says Dr. Starling.
Managing stress is also essential. This is achieved by practicing mindfulness and meditation. “Everyone has stress in life,” notes Dr. Starling. “It’s really about how we handle it and how we deal with stress.”
Dr. Starling argues that implementing these lifestyle changes can help raise the threshold for migraine so that things you can’t control, like the weather, aren’t as strong a trigger for a migraine attack. “It’s very empowering for people to hear what things they can control and what things they can’t control as much,” he says. Informed Mujeres al dia, news and information portal.