My Migraine Lifestyle Solutions
I have struggled with complicated headaches for the last 5 years or so. I get tension headaches, cluster headaches, hormonal headaches, migraines, as well as my spinal fluid level headaches. It’s a good thing I found a neurologist locally who is a world-renowned headache specialist! Under her care, she and I have been able to figure out some of my biggest headache triggers so that I can make lifestyle changes accordingly. She has literally given me my life back and I am so glad I’ve found her! I have a little boy that needs his momma to be her healthiest self!
What Lifestyle Modifications Work for Me?
My first line of attack against headaches is really watching what goes into my mouth. I banished gluten, dairy and refined sugars from my diet, knowing that all are inflammatory foods. I drink celery juice every morning which combats inflammation and helps boost digestion and absorption. I take a multi-vitamin with all my B’s and D’s and magnesium. I only drink an occasional organic clean glass of wine, limit myself to 1 glass, and NEVER drink near my monthly cycle. I take melatonin to make sure I sleep well, since lack of sleep is one of my biggest migraine triggers. Food has become my #1 method of healing my headaches! And this clean-eating (pescatarian) lifestyle suits me well! I feel strong, healthy and confident in being pain-free when I stick with this religiously.
As far as non-food related lifestyle modifications go, there are still a number of things I do to prevent headaches. One thing I discovered recently was that bright sunlight is one of my migraine triggers. I did my research and was able to find specialty glasses for both indoors and outdoors that block the 2 strands of UV light that are known to trigger migraines, which are the blue and violet light. I bought a pair of the outdoor version in a style I liked, and I literally never leave my home without them. Not even to walk to the mailbox! They really do help! Once I started using them, my migraine frequency declined rapidly! They may not be the latest and greatest fashion statement, but they are a life-saver! I buy them from Axonoptics. (link)
I take a bubble bath every single night to help me relax and to get more magnesium absorbed through my skin via Epsom Salts. In addition, I make sure to get about 9 hours of sleep every night, since lack of sleep is a trigger for my headaches. I also try to avoid situations where I’d be doing a lot of talking, since talking still hurts me sometimes. This is more related to having too much brain fluid, but when I talk a lot and a pressure headache builds, I find that my migraines get triggered as well. So it’s a double whammy! Yes, I’m aware that this makes me somewhat fragile, but it is what it is. This is my new normal, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be pain-free!
The last thing that is a big trigger for me is bright, flashing lights. On Halloween night we went to a friend’s neighborhood and that neighborhood takes Halloween VERY seriously! There were glow sticks, flashlights, glow in the dark clothing, flashing lights, headlamps, etc. I was not expecting this or prepared for it. After just 1 hour of trick-or-treating I found a headache creeping in, and it felt like a BIG one coming on! So I guess disco parties, strobe lights, and blacklights are no longer something I can take part in. I had to go home and take my migraine medication and tuck myself into bed early, I was so miserable. Speaking of medications….I also avoid all over the counter and most prescription pain medications. The problem with popping a pill everytime you have a headache is your body gets to where it needs the pills to remain pain free, thus a cycle. About a year ago I figured out that some of my problem was rebound headaches from pain meds. So I cold turkey cut those out. The only pain med I take is my emergency migraine medication in order to stop the migraine from becoming full blown.
I do hope that someday I won’t have to feel so limited with all of these habits and restrictions. But for now, this is my everyday game plan to keep headaches away, and I’m ok with it. Because the value I find in waking up everyday feeling healthy and strong will never be taken for granted again. I was very sick for a long time, and this helps me feel really well! I also watched my dear friend struggle with her health, by no fault of her own, which ended up taking her life, so yeah….health is everything! This has left me keenly aware of the fact that we only get 1 chance at life with this body. Why would you NOT do your best to care for it? I have learned in this journey to be grateful for my body for allowing me to experience this life!