According to recent statistics, up to 20% of the Australian population suffer from migraine at some stage of their lives. It is certainly one of the symptoms that bring people to our clinic & we’ve seen first hand how significant an effect it can have on one’s general health and well-being.
Typically, a migraine is pulsating or throbbing sensation of severe intensity, often on one side. It is usually associated with nausea and/or vomiting and can be accompanied by light and sound sensitivity.
It is understood that migraines are caused by abnormal activity in the brain and can be triggered by:
- Hormonal change, for example, some women will experience symptoms at different stages of the menstruation cycle.
- Emotional stress such as anxiety, depression or even excitement.
- Physical causes such as poor posture, neck and shoulder tension, insufficient sleep etc.
- Dietary triggers such as allergies, caffeine, alcohol. Dehydration and irregular mealtimes have also been linked.
- Environmental triggers such as flickering screens, loud noises or strong smell.
Tips for Migraine Sufferers:
- Keep a migraine diary. One of the major issues for migraine sufferers is trying to establish which of these triggers cause their migraines. A diary containing information such as when the migraine occurs, dietary and fluid intake for the previous 24 hours, mental state, stage of menstrual cycle (for women), activities and sleep for previous 24 hours etc, will help to establish any patterns and regular triggers.
- Be aware of warning signs. Often there are warning signs such as unexplained mood change or tiredness, neck stiffness and nausea. If these early symptoms are identified and responded to, it may prevent a full-blown attack.
- Reduce general stress levels. There has been much research on the impact stress has on a wide range of health issues. Mindfulness, meditation, getting out in nature, scheduling down time and prioritising self-care may help.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Keeping hydrated, making sure you are getting enough sleep, being conscious of what you are ingesting, and exercising regularly may reduce symptomology.
- Are your migraines impacted by your posture, neck tension, stress or rounded shoulder? We regularly work on improving posture and reducing stress in your neck and upper body. Make an appointment to see your OT or chiro asap!
Living with migraines can be a huge challenge but knowing how to manage migraine pain with lifestyle and behavioural measures, as well as medication, can be the most effective way to handle migraines.