Do you frequently suffer from migraines? Stress might be a key reason for them. This Stress Awareness Month, here are seven expert tips to prevent stress-triggered migraines
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Fast-paced lifestyles and increased screen time in this digital age mean that more and more people are suffering with migraines.
Migraines are a common condition in which people experience severe headaches with throbbing pain in the front and side of the head.
People also experience sensitivity to light and sound during a migraine attack, and sometimes also suffer from nausea and vomiting.
These headaches can be moderate or severe in nature and are caused by various triggers including stress, with the worst flare-ups completely debilitating sufferers.
However, there are a few things people can do to prevent or at least relieve stress migraines. Here are seven tips from Parvinder Sagoo, Lead Pharmacist and Health Advisor for SimplyMedsOnline.
Rest in a dark room
If you’re suffering with a migraine, you might be extra sensitive to light and sound. So, try to rest in a dimly lit or even pitch black room.
Close your eyes and try to relieve any muscle tension by relaxing your back, neck and shoulders. It’s best to move as little as possible during a flare-up to avoid putting any more stress on yourself.
Try to stay still and rest for a few hours or at least until the migraine has let up a little. If you fall asleep, it’s fine as that might help too.
Treat with hot or cold compresses
Both cold and heat can help relieve pain and muscle tension which comes with migraines.
Try taking a hot shower and massage the shower head close to the affected areas of your head and neck to ease symptoms. A hot water bottle, warm towel or compress are also useful.
If cold helps your symptoms, then wrap an ice pack or cold towel and put it over the areas that hurt like your forehead, temples, or neck.
Acupressure techniques are a type of targeted massage known to ease pain from stress migraines quite quickly.
Place your thumbs near the base of your skull, in the depressions on both sides where your head meets your neck. Press in and slightly upwards with your thumbs until you feel gentle pressure.
While you’re pressing, move your thumbs in small circles for around two or three minutes. This should help ease your headache.
Get your caffeine fix
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Caffeine can both help your stress migraine – by helping pain relief drugs work better and faster- but may also trigger them. So using caffeine to ease your migraine symptoms depends on how you react to it.
If you find that caffeine worsens your migraine rather than reduces it, you’re better off staying clear of the stimulant.
Try a massage
Massages help unclench your muscles and are particularly good for stress or tension migraines.
Get someone to gently massage your head, neck and shoulders as well as gently rub the painful spot on your head with your fingertips in circular motions for several seconds.
Neck exercises are useful to ease stress migraines, which are caused by holding your head in one position for too long.
To do these neck exercises, place your palm on your forehead and using your neck muscles, press your forehead lightly against your palm.
Make sure to keep your head upright, and your hand and arm still for resistance, this should help reduce some tension around your temples and front of your head.
Buy over the counter medicine
If migraines are making your daily life difficult, it’s best to try over the counter medicine to fix the problem. Migraine relief medications are safe and effective in treating the cause as well as symptoms of migraines.