Do you get headaches frequently? Do you get nauseous and sensitive to light during these episodes? You could be suffering from migraines. Migraine is a term used to describe severe disabling headaches that occur frequently. Symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, light sensitivity and sensitivity to noise typically accompany the headache. Some sufferers will experience various sensations a few days or hours before the headache begins. This is known as an aura. Other people are unable to see well and have changes in other senses during this time. Today we teach you how to manage migraines and when to see a doctor.
Symptoms of Migraines
- A throbbing headache often on one side of the head but can be on both sides. Often, the pain will radiate to the neck muscles.
- Disturbances in vision just before or during the headache
- Nausea and vomiting in addition to the headache.
- Changes in light or noise makes the headache worse
Management of Migraines
There are various triggers of migraines. They include certain foods such as those containing additives like aspartame and foods with caffeine. Fatigue and psychological stress also promote episodes of migraine. Hot weather and hormonal changes in women can also contribute to migraine headaches. Triggers are specific to each sufferer. Learn how to assess your body and eliminate the triggers. For instance, if your migraine episodes start when you are tired, delegate tasks or take frequent breaks. Avoid foods and drinks that trigger episodes as well such as alcohol, caffeine and processed foods like smokies. Limiting your intake of alcohol and cigarette smoking is also a beneficial strategy. Reduce psychological stress by talking to trusted colleagues or friends.
Researchers have found a link between migraines and deficiencies in certain minerals and vitamins. Various studies have found that many migraine sufferers have a deficiency of vitamin B, vitamin D and magnesium. The good thing is that these agents are readily available in many foods. Eat a healthy amount of green leafy vegetables like Sukuma wiki and fruits like bananas to get these essential micronutrients. A little basking in the sun will give you the required vitamin D. A variety of supplements exist that will provide you with these important nutrients. Visit us at Penda Health for more information.
Certain habits are known to promote occurrence of migraines. These include skipping meals, sleeping very late and watching television or using computers for very long periods of time. The following changes will prevent frequent occurrence of migraines;
- Eat small regular meals. When you skip meals, your blood sugar goes down causing headaches.
- Drink water regularly. Dehydration contributes to headaches. Alleviate this by intentionally drinking plenty of water and various drinks throughout the day.
- Limit screen time. Put away your computers, mobile phones and stay away from the television for a few hours each day.
- Have a regular sleep pattern. Inadequate amounts of sleep often trigger an episode of migraine. Avoid this by sleeping at the same time and waking up at the same time each day. Sleep in a quiet dark room also because noise and bright lights may act as triggers.
- Manage stress effectively. Embrace techniques for managing daily stressors such as talking to a friend, journaling and planning your day effectively. Rest frequently and learn how to ignore unimportant stressors.
There are many pain relievers that are effective for migraines. These include common over-the-counter products like paracetamol and prescription agents. Other medications are used to prevent occurrence of episodes. Our clinical team at Penda will guide you on the best medication for you.
When to see a doctor
- When migraine episodes become more frequent and last longer than usual. This could indicate an underlying problem.
- If you experience temporary blindness just before or during a migraine attack.
- If you experience migraine episodes more than twice a week.
- If you vomit uncontrollably and have a headache that won’t stop despite taking medications.
- If you lose consciousness, feel dizzy and confused in addition to your headache.
- When the migraine episodes occur a few days to getting your period or during pregnancy.