Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Your Risk of Migraines

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine is the sixth most disabling disease in the world, and the third most common. But when you’re in the throes of migraine pain, knowing you have company isn’t much comfort. Though researchers still debate what causes migraine, discovering your personal triggers and trying to control them through lifestyle changes is one of your best options for minimizing pain and disability.

The migraine experts at Apple Medical Centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, work with you to help you identify your personal triggers and also manage pain when a migraine headache attacks. If you have migraines, see if the following steps help reduce the number or severity of your headaches:

Optimize your sleep

In today’s 24/7 world — when your phone’s constantly distracting you with upsetting events or requests from your boss, spouse, or kids — you need to be sure you’re giving your brain and body enough restorative rest. Being overly tired increases your risk for a migraine attack. Adopt the following habits to help you rest fully and well:

Get plenty of exercise

Regular exercise is great for your overall health, and it helps you get the restorative sleep you need. Just be sure not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime. Aerobic exercise, especially, raises your heart rate and makes it difficult to wind down.

If exercise tends to trigger your migraines, talk to our doctors about healthy activities that help your body stay strong without risking an attack. Some types of exercise that aren’t overly strenuous but still strengthen your body include:

We work with you to find the routines that are best for your current fitness level, your fitness goals, and your migraine triggers.

Be careful with caffeine

You may have noticed that drinking a cup of coffee eases the pain of a migraine attack. Caffeine blocks a substance in your brain called adenosine, which you need but which also increases during a migraine attack. But too much caffeine can actually trigger migraines. 

If you have to drink more and more caffeinated beverages to stay alert, you’ve probably developed a tolerance. Talk with us about gradually withdrawing from caffeine; withdrawing too quickly can trigger a migraine. 

Once you’ve withdrawn, you may be able to re-introduce caffeine gradually, but probably shouldn’t have more than one or two cups of coffee per day (about  200 mg). If you have daily headaches, you may have to avoid caffeine altogether.

Eat and drink regularly

Some of the most common triggers for migraines are being hungry and being dehydrated, so drink plenty of water and don’t skip meals or fast.

You might also consider minimizing the foods and beverages that tend to trigger migraines, such as:

If you think a food might be one of the culprits behind your migraines, eliminate it from your diet for a month and see if your symptoms improve. You can then re-introduce it and track your reaction.

De-stress

Stress drains your body of the energy it needs to function optimally. Find ways to manage stress, including exercise, mindfulness, and meditation.

Make sure you spend time every day taking care of yourself with a few moments of silence or prayer, a walk in nature, or just a nice warm bath before bed.

Keep a diary

Keeping a daily journal helps you track your migraine triggers, and also allows you a place to de-stress by expressing your thoughts. Everyone’s migraines are different, and it’s important for you to see the patterns that occur before your attack so you can begin modifying your lifestyle to minimize your pain. 

When you want to take control of your migraines with lifestyle adjustments, or if you’re experiencing migraine pain now and want relief, contact us today. You can reach our team by phone or by clicking the “Free Consult” button and scheduling an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why Women Are More Likely to Suffer From Chronic Pain

It’s no secret that women’s bodies are different than men’s. But did you know that these physical and biological differences can make chronic pain more common for women? Learn why chronic pain can be more severe for women and how you can find relief.

Carrying a Heavy Burden: How Weight Affects Your Joints

You already know that there are a lot of good reasons to lose weight. But, did you know that helping protect your joints is one of them? If you want to help keep your joints healthy, managing your weight could be part of the solution.

How to Remedy Sciatica and Prevent a Recurrence

Up to 40% of adults can expect to develop sciatica at some point in their lives, particularly as they get older. Find out what you can do to remedy this potentially debilitating problem and prevent its recurrence.

Bad Habits that Could Be Worsening Your Knee Pain

Just as healthy lifestyle choices can help you keep chronic knee pain at bay, bad habits can aggravate your knee problem. Find out which habits may be making your knee pain worse so you can reverse those harmful patterns for good.