What to Do when you have Migraine Attack!

A migraine is a type of a headache which is a result of specific changes occurring in the brain. It causes severe head pain that is often accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.

Common symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe Eye Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Frequent Urination
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Pounding pain usually on one side of the head

A migraine can be triggered by certain factors which include:

  • Stress
  • Certain Hormonal changes
  • Loud Noise or Sound pollution
  • Certain foods

If a migraine occurs, try the following tips:

  1. Caffeine can be a migraine trigger for some people, for others, it works as a treatment. The dose is one to two cups of strong coffee at the first sign of an attack and complete avoidance is recommended if it triggers a migraine.
  2. Fresh powdered ginger, 500 to 600 milligrams (about 1/4 teaspoon), in a glass of water is helpful. It can be repeated every 2-3 hours but only up to about 2 grams per day.
  3. Researchers reported that calcium might be able to treat migraines as well as prevent them. A study conducted on a woman who was able to stop an early migraine by chewing 1,200 to 1,600 milligrams of elemental calcium.
  4. Lie down in a quiet, dark room, and sleep if you can. Use hot or cold compresses.
  5. Eat wisely and do not skip meals, hunger can also trigger a migraine.
  6. To identify potential food triggers keep a track of the foods you eat and when you experience migraines.
  7. Acupuncture and Yoga have been helpful for many people, so you can try these.
  8. Exercise regularly. During physical activity, your body releases certain chemicals that block pain signals to your brain. These chemicals also help alleviate anxiety and depression, which can make migraines worse.
  9. Breathing exercises like pranayama and yoga help to get rid of migraine pains. It may also help to consciously relax your muscles.

Safe Foods for a Migraine Patient:

  • Rice, especially brown rice
  • Cooked green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach
  • Cooked orange vegetables, such as carrots or sweet potatoes
  • Cooked yellow vegetables, such as summer squash
  • Cooked or dried non-citrus fruits like cherries, cranberries, pears and prunes
  • Water: Plain water or carbonated forms and herbal teas should be avoided as even they can be the triggers
  • Modest amounts of salt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract are usually well-tolerated

Common Migraine Triggers

Common triggers often cause headaches in susceptible people. Here are some common foods that may trigger a migraine:

  • Chocolates
  • Eggs
  • Citrus fruits
  • Meat
  • Wheat (bread, pasta, etc.)
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Some beverages and additives, including alcoholic beverages (especially red wine), caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, and colas), monosodium glutamate, aspartame, and nitrites.

Dietary Management of a Migraine

  1. Foods for a migraine must be rich in complex carbohydrates, low in fat, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cereals, lean chicken and fish meats, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, seafood, turkey and olive and fish oil are migraine foods that help.
  2. Apples and celery juice are known to be effective in treating migraine headaches.
  3. A carrot, spinach and cucumber juice combination may also reduce the pain.
  4. Fresh garlic bulbs eaten in a salad helps clear headaches.
  5. Parsley and peppermint, spearmint, lemon or chamomile tea help soothe headache symptoms.
  6. Small and frequent meals help as hunger can also trigger a migraine.

Traditional Home Remedies

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil. Soak a handkerchief or soft cotton face towel in this oil and apply to the forehead as required.
  • Steep a handful of coriander seeds in boiling water for several minutes. Inhale the steam under a towel to relieve sinus-related headaches.
  • A ginger or mustard footbath may ease the pain and warm the body.
  • Tie a handful of mustard seeds or a ginger piece in a muslin cloth. Soak this in a bucket of boiling water. Wait for the water to cool a little. Soak your feet in this water.

Patients should avoid the things that trigger migraine attacks such as lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, certain foods etc. Use a daily diary to document the headaches and foods or habits that have triggered the same. This is an effective and inexpensive tool to follow the course of the disease.

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