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Tips and Tricks to Solve Migraine Problems

Medically Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on November 06, 2020

Living with migraines can be tricky. You don’t know when they’ll strike or how you’ll get through your day when they do. While you can’t always stop them completely, there are things you can do to make a difference.

Sunglasses for Light Sensitivity

Bright lights are everywhere, and they tend to trigger many people’s migraines. If you have photophobia, or light sensitivity, natural and artificial lights may cause head pain or make it worse.

To manage this risk, you might want to wear sunglasses inside and outside. These can block the harsh light as well as blue-tinted light, which is the most painful type of artificial light, from your eyes.

You may also want to try light bulbs that give off green light. This is the only color that hasn’t been shown to make head pain worse.

Another good idea is to turn the brightness down on your devices. Using subtle light from your phone or computer may be a better way to avoid a migraine.

While you won’t always be able to avoid bright lights, you can stay away from them as much as possible. If you work in an area with bright artificial lights, sit closer to a window with natural light that isn’t as glaring. Stay away from flickering light sources and surfaces that glare.

Stress

Stress triggers more than 70% of people with migraines. Since you can’t make stress go away, you need to focus on managing it as well and as quickly as possible. Have a plan for what you’ll do in demanding situations -- whether it’s at work, in your personal life, or while you’re doing chores or errands -- so you’re not caught off guard.

Can you remove yourself from the situation and calm down before you go back? Take some deep breaths when you notice you’re feeling stressed? Call a friend or get a quick workout to shed the stress ASAP? You want to have several anti-stress strategies handy so you can choose what works in the moment.

It’s also a good idea to sort your priorities to stop stress before it starts. Manage your time at work or school so that you enter each day with a plan.

Set Your Schedule

Migraines might be less likely when you keep things consistent. If you switch up your routine, you’re more likely to have a bad headache. For this reason, it’s important to keep a similar plan for each day. Maintain the same sleep schedule, exercise times, and keep your diet consistently healthy. You may also want to make a treatment routine, so that you take any medication or therapies at the same time each day.

Banish Strong Odors

Strong smells from things like food and cologne might trigger your head pain. It’s not always easy to escape these scents, so it’s important to be ready to adapt to the environment you’re in.

Keep a bag of coffee beans (if the scent of coffee doesn’t bother you) near you. Coffee beans neutralize odors, so a quick whiff might stop a migraine in its tracks.

You can also use a peppermint balm to clear the air around you. You can dab some under your nose to block strong smells.

It’s also a good idea to talk about your scent triggers. Ask your family and friends to go easy on the perfume and other scents when they’re around you. Explaining what can be migraine triggers gives them a simple way to offer support.

Check Your Diet

Trigger foods could cause your migraines. Everyone is sensitive to different foods, so it’s important to track what you eat and how your body responds to it. Keep a food diary to log your meals and journal how you feel after. This will help you learn what is safe and what to avoid. You’ll still need to get all the nutrients your body needs, so you may want to consult with a registered dietitian if you find you have a lot of trigger foods.

Be Ready if Aura Strikes

Some people with migraines have aura before or during their head pain. While there’s no proven way to prevent aura, you can calm the side effects down once it starts. When you first feel symptoms, go to a dark and quiet room. Take a nap or rest for a bit. You may also want to use a cool rag or ice pack on your forehead or the back of your neck. Hydration may also help, so be sure you drink enough water or get it from foods.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Migraine Foundation: “5 Migraine Hacks From Our AMF Migraine Community,” “Photophobia (Light Sensitivity) and Migraine,” “Stress and Migraine.”

Mayo Clinic: “Migraine with aura.”

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