Drug Free Migraine Resolutions for 2013

January 4, 2013

If your New Year’s Eve festivities didn’t trigger a migraine, count your blessings, and start thinking about ways you can help yourself with drug free migraine treatments in 2013. It has been said that when we put things in writing we are more likely to follow through.  Since migraines are treated rather well with positive lifestyle modification, check out these 10 easy resolutions to start your list…

  1. Sleep Tight – Getting enough sleep is important for anyone, but especially for people with migraines. Lack of sleep or irregular sleep is a well-known trigger.  Try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day of the week and avoid getting off track on the weekends.  Most people need between 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.
  2. Conquer Stress – or at least develop a coping defense strategy for this migraine trigger. Some stress is unavoidable in daily life but we can certainly develop healthier ways to keep it in check. Through behavioral treatments like cognitive behavior therapy or biofeedback, you can develop techniques to manage your physical responses to stress and use positive thinking to control this reaction.
  3. Eat Nutritiously – Eating well-balanced healthy meals at regular intervals throughout the day is important for keeping yourself properly fueled and balanced.  Nutrients like vitamin B2, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like lean beef, whole grains, leafy greens, salmon and sweet potatoes may ward off migraines and reduce inflammation that contributes to headaches.
  4. Supplement  – when nutritional needs aren’t met through food alone, mineral and vitamin supplements may be needed.  Before considering these and even herbal supplements, thought to help lessen the occurrence and symptoms of migraines, check with your doctor.  As with any drug, there may be adverse interactions with medication you are taking.
  5. Relaxation – mind body techniques have long been recognized as a drug free migraine treatment.   Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have all been reported to relieve physiological tension and promote mindfulness and positive thought.
  6. Exercise – especially outdoor activities have been linked with overall improved health, mood and ability to handle daily stress.  About 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity per week is a good starting point to start feeling better.
  7. Massage therapy – treat yourself to massage treatments that relieve muscular and emotional tension that triggers headaches.  Techniques that focus on treating pressure points around the head, such as cranial sacral therapy are especially soothing.
  8. Supportive Surrounding – a supportive and positive network of friends, family and pets can be a major source of relief from stress and tension.  Creating a migraine friendly environment will go a long way in nurturing your path to better health.
  9. Banish Trigger Foods – if you suspect certain foods are triggering your migraine, start your drug free migraine treatment by eliminating these items one by one, and tracking your migraine response in your journal.  Common foods to watch out for include chocolate, aged cheese, processed meat, red wine and spicy items.
  10. Hydrate – Among the countless reasons you should drink plenty of water each day, preventing migraines by avoiding dehydration is one of the best.

The University Health Services at Berkeley University in California points out that learning to recognize early signs of an impending migraine and developing strategies for managing your response to avoid anxiety and stress can be extremely effective in reducing the severity of migraine.  So, break open that new journal, grab your favorite pen and get going on putting your drug free migraine New Year’s Resolutions to paper, and feel free to add more of your own personal ones!


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