Living with Migraine

Living with migraines can be difficult. It’s a very common condition, with about eight million people in the UK experiencing migraines, according to The Migraine Trust.

Depending on the frequency and severity of your symptoms, these severe headaches can interfere with your quality of life and with your ability to manage your responsibilities.

They can be better managed however with the following tips:

Make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis

You may assume that you have migraines, and while your instincts may be correct, they shouldn’t take the place of a doctor’s diagnosis. Migraines are often confused with sinus headaches but the vast majority of disabling headache pain that comes and goes is due to migraines. You may experience pain and pressure in your sinuses, but if it’s accompanied by a moderate to severe headache, nausea, and/or sensitivity to light, you probably have a migraine.

Follow your treatment plan

It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on what medications to take and when. Some are designed to be taken every day as a preventative measure, while others should be taken when you’re actually experiencing pain. Doctors often recommend that you take medication as soon as you start to experience any symptoms rather than waiting until they worsen. Use the medication as directed, but don’t supplement your treatment with any other medicine before getting your doctor’s OK.

Learn to recognize your triggers

Keeping a headache diary in which you record your symptoms, as well as any known triggers, may help you see patterns. Some women have migraines around the time of their menstrual period, while other people may react to triggers such as skipped meals, a lack of sleep, eyestrain, or certain foods. Recognising patterns can help you avoid the trigger when possible or take medication in advance of unavoidable circumstances, such as your menstrual period.

Take care of yourself physically

Try to exercise regularly, and follow a routine so you don’t miss meals or fail to get enough sleep. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting, since this habit can trigger migraines. And if you work at a desk job, be mindful of good posture, and make sure to get up and more around for a few minutes every hour.

Be aware of stress and depression

Stress can be a trigger for migraines, so reducing it is important. Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, and it also benefits your overall health. Yoga and relaxation exercises such as deep breathing techniques can help lessen your body’s response to stressful situations. In addition to stress, migraines have been linked to depression in several different ways. They may both be caused by similar brain chemicals and mood changes may trigger migraines. In addition, the pain and disruption that migraines cause may also lead to depression.

Living with migraine headaches isn’t always easy, but the effect they have on your life can be minimised and managed.