Managing The Migraine Monster
One of the more mysterious conditions that affect people are Migraines.
Intense, almost debilitating headaches, which start at the base of the neck, travel across the top of your head to finally settle behind your eyes. The pain doesn’t come alone though, with it comes nausea, photosensitivity, hearing becomes super sensitive. With me, even moving my head sends bolts of agony shooting through my brain.
Migraines are mysterious because researchers have not been able to concretely point to any one cause. There are studies that indicate genetic predispositions, some say they are associated with conditions like depression, bipolar disorder etc. One thing that is agreed on, is that they have “triggers” that set them off.
So as a fellow sufferer, I am going to give you all a few tips and tricks to manage migraines.
Before going ahead, I would like to say that there are pharmaceutical alternatives, and I did give medication a try for a good eight months, but there were way too many counter-indications for my liking.
Isolate Your Trigger
First and foremost, try and isolate what sets off your migraines. There are a number of common triggers, though they are not always the same for different people. Fatigue is a common one. One of my triggers is my diet. I can’t space my meals too far apart. Sometimes it can specific be food in your diet that’s the cause, I know of someone who doesn’t eat anything fried as it triggers her migraines. There are a number of environmental factors as well. Keep a track of your diet, and the things you may have come in contact with before an attack. There might be specific dietary triggers or environmental ones. This is the best ways to manage this condition.
Eat Fresh, Eat Healthy
It actually helps a lot. I made very solid efforts to reduce the amount of preservatives/artificial coloring etc that I was ingesting on a daily basis, and it had a big positive impact.
Nausea makes it very difficult to eat, so eat small meals, and intersperse them with fresh fruit. Apples, Oranges, Strawberries, Grapes, pick any one, or all of them.
Chop them up in a bowl, spritz some lemon, and chill them in the fridge. All of these pack antioxidants, which help take the edge off the migraine.
What I personally hate the most, even more than the pain, is the intense nausea that comes with migraines, making it almost impossible to eat, which further worsens the situation. Off the counter, antiemetics are not always effective. Don’t worry though, there are a few things that do actually work, and are easily found at home.
Off the counter antiemetics are not always effective. Don’t worry though, there are a few things that do actually work, and are easily found at home.
Ginger works like magic. I keep candied ginger with me at all times. You can also make a simple ginger-lemon-honey infusion. It’s nice and warm and soothing. Just drop an inch of peeled, and crushed ginger in a cup of boiling water, turn off the burner and let it steep for five minutes After that, squeeze in some lemon juice, and honey to taste. This works really well, especially in winters.
Mint helps both with nausea and with migraines in general. During the summers, I usually pluck a handful of fresh mint from my roof top, bruise the leaves, i.e. gently crush them and throw them in a bottle full of water. This I refrigerate for a few hour. The cold, mint infused water is fantastically refreshing and soothes the system.
Caffeine Or Not?
This again is one of the things that differs from person to person. I noticed no difference in the frequency or intensity of my attacks, regardless of my caffeine intake. Most doctors will ask you to avoid coffee, and it’s worth giving it a try because as much as you might love coffee, I’m sure you’d give it up for a pain-free life.
So, if you’re not a caffeine junkie like me, you should try switching to Green Tea. As with all tea, it does have caffeine but it has a lot more antioxidants. You can turn the Ginger-Honey-Lemon infusion into Ginger-Honey-Lemon-Green Tea.
And in the scorching hot summers, good Green Tea tastes fantastic when cold. I prefer sweetening my Iced Green Tea with honey, but that’s my preference. Moreover, there aren’t any strict recipes for any of these things. They are all simple, basic, ingredients, that all work well together. So make a Mint Iced Green Tea, if it works for you.
What About The Pain?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a solution for the pain, so I do end up having to take a pill if the situations becomes critical, but I can say with confidence, that with these simple little things that I’ve told you about, coupled with finding my trigger, has reduced the frequency of my attacks, by almost three-fourths. So, go ahead and give these a try, and I hope you find something that works for you as well as these did for me.