Ever had a migraine? If you answered "no" - well then you are lucky. If you answered "yes" you don't need me to tell you that migraine headaches are both unbearable and disabling. You feel severe pain on one or both sides of your head, or behind your eyes. You develop an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and may even become nauseous from the pain. All you want to do is crawl into a dark, soundless cave, and wrap yourself in a blanket and wait until the awful nauseating pain passes.
The thing with migraines is that they can be really inconsistent, showing up with no obvious cause. Many people's migraines may be triggered by environment, sickness, or diet. Some women experience hormonal triggers, like mestruation. Stress, too much or too little sleep, alcohol, and weather changes can also cause a migraine.
Certain foods or smells can also trigger a migraine. Eating foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate) or strong smells from perfumes or chemicals like in paint can also cause a migraine.
How can you get relief? To find out,
- Taking a cold or hot shower directed onto your head may relieve symptoms. Or you can just use a cold or hot wet washcloth. Some people find relief by taking a warm bath, or relaxing in a quiet dark room.
- Drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee daily might help to prevent headaches to begin with.
- My favorite tasty remedy? The ice cream technique. Some people find relief by causing a "brain freeze." Place spoonfuls of ice cream on the soft palate at the back of the mouth until they melt or become intolerable. This directly cools the hypothalamus, which is suspected to be involved with migraines.
- Exercise daily. Regular exercise can reduce tension and stress, which may be causing your migraines in the first place.
- Don't smoke - it can trigger headaches or make them worse.
- You can also try over-the-counter migraine medications. If these don't work or you have recurring migraines, see your doctor and they may prescribe stronger migraine pain meds.
- Biofeedback can help by teaching you how to avoid the physical stress that triggers the headache.