The Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Migraines
Migraineurs require a unique and personalized regimen to control migraine pain. However, there are some things that should be addressed for all migraine patients. Let’s review some of the big do’s and don’ts of migraines.
DO Identify Your Triggers
Start with the most common: sleep, stress, and food.They top the charts in terms of probability when it comes to migraine triggers. Avoiding foods, improving sleep quality, and managing stress will have an enormous impact on your well-being.
DO Be More Mindful
Mindful meditation has been used for thousands of years to combat illness and stress. Recent research shows that meditation may help with migraines. More than half the patients in the large-scale study who performed mindful meditation showed significant improvement in their mood and a 30% improvement in their daily activities.
DO Get More Physical Activity
Sometimes, this can seem like an unreasonable request, but it’s not. I’ve been treating migraineurs for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen a patient get worse with a unique exercise routine. It’s all about knowing which activities and movements to avoid and finding a routine that fits your body and soul. It should be fun, so go for activities like dancing, water aerobics, walking, or gardening. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but it does have to be present and consistent.
Exercises migraineurs should avoid include:
- Leg presses,or any exercise where your feet are higher than your head.
- Prowler exercises, when you’re pushing from a very low position and your head is lower than the rest of your body.
- Battle rope exercises.
If you’re suffering from a migraine during your exercise routine and you’re not doing these specific exercises, then there are two main reasons for the migraine:
- Most commonly, you are seriously magnesium deficient.
- If your magnesium levels are within normal range, and you’re still suffering, there is likely a physical and biomechanical disorder happening in your body. For this, you should seek help from a skilled chiropractor.
DO Research. Learn. Heal. Repeat.
Knowledge is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s probably the most vital in your arsenal, so make sure you never give up on learning about the condition, the science, the studies, and the treatment options. Always be willing to experiment. Your health is on the line, so talk to your doctors candidly about new options if what you’re currently doing isn’t working.
DO Think Outside the Box
As a doctor, the ability to think outside the box for whole-person treatments is one of my most treasured skills. It takes more than recommending a good night’s sleep and a few choice supplements. Often, treatment plans require extensive research, discussions with colleagues, heart-to-hearts with patients, and safe experimentation. To do this, patients need to be fully involved and engaged in their care. Otherwise, it won’t work.
DON’T Let Anyone Stand in Your Way
Now, this is a given, but I feel it needs to be reiterated. You are not weak. You are not alone. And, you are not faking it. Anyone who treats you otherwise needs to be removed from your line of sight to optimize your healing process. It’s that simple (and that difficult as well).
DON’T Put Sleep on the Backburner
If there’s one thing that should be your highest priority, it’s this. Sleep is our life force, our natural state of being where our body and mind can repair itself after a day of laborious work managing the onslaught of information, stress, and triggers. Don’t put it aside. Address it now, before you do anything else.
DON’T Let Hormones Get Out of Control
Our hormones are almost always in a state of fluctuation. Women, especially, suffer from drastic hormonal changes; however, children, elderly, and men experience imbalances as well. Learning which hormones are responsible for the pain will be the trick. Start with learning about the big ones: estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
DON’T Search for a Magic Pill or a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
There’s no such thing, so don’t waste your energy.
DON’T Overuse Medications
This is the most important DON’T. In this culture, we’re quick to turn to medicine for help and healing, but medicine has failed us. It has thrown dangerous pills and risky treatments down our throats with vague promises of a cure. Overusing medications, and by that, I mean using them long-term without any plans to incorporate holistic approaches that will reduce the need for those medications, is the most dangerous thing you can do to your life.
On that same token, if you’re on long-term medications, it’s time to talk to your doctor about coming up with a treatment plan that includes natural measures to help you wean from those drugs, or at least use them less frequently. Understanding where your responsibilities lie compared to where your providers’ are is the first step to treating migraines effectively. These do’s and don’ts should help you stay on track with your treatment goals.