How to Avoid Migraines When Traveling
For a long time, every single time I got off an airplane, I had a migraine or, at the very least, a massive throbbing headache that was on its way to becoming a migraine. It was terrible, and I’d be useless for the rest of the day and sometimes even for the next 3 and 4 days. Then, I made one simple change the day before and the day of my flight. Since then, I don’t suffer from airplane-headaches anymore. I can now hop on a plane and never have to worry that I’m going to lose three or four days of my vacation due to pain and nausea that came with my migraines.
Learning how to prevent a migraine while traveling became a priority for me. I thought I was doomed. How can anyone escape the change in cabin pressure? I searched medical journals, asked colleagues, and entertained both conventional and alternative treatment methods. My solution was one of the most basic and necessary elements of survival and health: Water.
I was drinking half my body weight daily, but apparently, it just wasn’t enough. I needed more. So the day before and the day of my flight, I drank close to my body weight in ounces of water. When combined with eliminating a few foods out of my diet and addressing my stress levels, I was able to finally say goodbye to airplane headaches and migraines. Thank goodness!
While water solved my issue, it may not solve yours, so I am going to touch on these three triggers as well:
Migraines Triggered by Dehydration
Aside from air, water is the most crucial element of survival; it’s powerful, but also destructive. Water:
- Makes up more than 60% of the body
- Is vital for proper cell functioning
- Acts as a lubricant for your joints
- Plays a role in regulating internal temperature
- Flushes out waste
Depending on health and environment, the maximum time a person can survive without water is one week, but that’s seen in immobile people at the end of their life.
We are constantly losing water through sweat, excretion, and even exhalation. That’s why we need to drink water throughout the day. When I considered this, I decided to drink my full body weight in ounces on the day of my travel. You would do this the day before if you have an early flight. I wasn’t playing around. I wanted a solution, and this seemed like the best place to start.
And, it worked! I was free.
The Sleep Factor
Do you sleep? Can you fall asleep easily and stay asleep for 7-8 hours at a time? If not, then sleep deprivation is probably one of your biggest components of travel related migraine.
Do your best to plan your sleep pattern ahead of time. If you’re unable to determine a good sleep plan for your travel due to the time difference, it may be worth considering avoiding that trip for now.
The Nutrition Factor
Food and drinks are huge migraine triggers. I know you’ll want to indulge in local cuisine during your trip; however, I caution to be careful with your choices. Know your limits. Here are some things you can do before your trip:
- Determine food allergies. You can do this by following the elimination diet. Avoid those items on your trip.
- Check out local restaurants online and pick a few options at each place
- Hundreds of items are loaded with tyramine and histamine, which may be responsible for your migraines, so err on the side of caution
- Avoid foods with unknown ingredients
Climate and Pressure Changes
Oh yeah, this one got me. The airplane cabin pressure alone may cause a migraine to peek its ugly head around the back of your eye. Add to that any changes in temperature and barometric pressure at your destination, and it could be a recipe for disaster. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Consider spending the first few days doing indoor activities, if possible, at your destination. This may give you some time to acclimate to the weather.
- Consider getting Migraine Glasses. Axon Optics is a brand with helpful reviews
- Consider getting a barometer application on your phone to help you plan your activities
My travel comfort changed when I started with the basics: I hydrated before my flight and kept drinking water during the flight. My relief was palpable when I landed and there was no sign of a migraine or even a minor headache. I felt like my entire world changed and new opportunities were now possible. I want you to experience that too, so start your journey of discovering new methods of treatment for your travel migraines.
- Everyday Health – 10 Tips for Taming Migraines While Traveling
- Excedrin – Traveling? Here’s How to Avoid Migraine Triggers
- Migraine.com – 10 Tips for Migraines and Travel
- Business Insider – How Many Days Can You Survive Without Water
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