9 Tips for Living with Chronic Headache or Migraine Pain
The number of Americans who live with pain is astounding. According to the Migraine Research Foundation approximately 14 million people suffer with chronic headaches – including migraines. If you are one of these people, you know all too well that treating your symptoms with drug free migraine therapies or interventional medicine requires patience, creativity and terrific health care providers.
But in the meantime, you have a job, family, friends and hobbies requiring your immediate attention and engagement. Coping tips for living with chronic pain will help you better manage your disability so that you can get on with living your life.
- Identify Triggers – A simple notebook or cool migraine app can help you track your headache symptoms and occurrences to reveal your unique migraine triggers. Then you can take steps to avoid triggering your chronic headache condition.
- Preventative Therapy — When you can anticipate certain unavoidable triggers, like weather changes or hormonal fluctuations, it is important to begin your preventative prescription or over-the-counter medication.
- Stop Smoking – Nicotine constricts the blood vessels in the head, which contributes to migraines. It can also stimulate certain nerves that trigger headaches. Allergic reactions to smoke and the odor are also potential migraine triggers.
- Get Exercise – From feel-good endorphins, to improved blood flow and more, exercise is natures best medicine. Not feeling up to it? Start slow and gentle and progress from there. Studies have shown that even a walk around the block can improve your health!
- Reduce Emotional Stress – Drug free migraine therapies like meditation and yoga can help you better cope with emotional stress, thereby eliminating the powerful stress trigger (responsible for all sorts of pain and other health issues).
- Decrease Physical Stress – Muscular tension in your neck, from hours at your desk and computer, can easily radiate upward, triggering headaches. Gentle stretching; massage therapy and allowing for plenty of rest will help ease your physical stress.
- Sleep Hygiene – Many migraine sufferers report that lack of sleep, erratic sleep schedules and even too much sleep can worsen their condition. Shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and maintain the same schedule on the weekends.
- Limit Caffeine – While some people find that caffeine can be an effective drug free migraine treatment, it also triggers chronic headaches for many when consumed in large doses or on a frequent basis. Caffeine withdrawal is also a known headache culprit.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamins D and magnesium have been shown to help some migraine sufferers. These nutrients assist in easing inflammation and reducing stress.