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Tips to Ease Migraine Pain

Author: Tanya Campbell
by Tanya Campbell
Posted: Feb 14, 2020
red wine

Migraines – unless you have suffered with one, or seen someone you know under the spell of a migraine attack, it is very hard to understand what they actually feel like or how debilitating they can be.

As an Osteopath in Melbourne, and unfortunately as a migraine sufferer, I know all too well about the misfortune of migraines. Osteopaths see patients who suffer with migraines regularly and give hands on relief, as well as management plans and tools for home.

Migraines are classified as a neurological disorder, ie, brain disorder. They may present in each individual with different symptoms but usually have at least 2 of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blind spot or aura
  • Sensitivity to light, noises and smell
  • Numbness and tingling of face, hands and feet
  • Difficultly speaking
  • One sided headache which is intense, debilitating and throbbing in nature

Migraines can last for hours or days, and the severity of them can cause the sufferer to be unwell in bed for the duration, or manage to be out however difficult it may be.

The exact cause of migraines is not known. There is often a family history of migraines, but not always. They may be hormonal for some sufferers. And for certain people there may be specific triggers that can include:

  • Red wine, chocolate, oranges
  • Hormonal changes from menstrual cycle or the oral contraceptive pill
  • Alcohol, especially red wine
  • Stress and anxiety and fatigue
  • Neck and shoulder muscle and joint tightness and stiffness

If you have not seen a doctor for a migraine, it is wise to have an assessment and discuss your symptoms and treatment options. This may also include further referral to a specialist if necessary if the migraines are causing significant impact on your daily life and ability to work, sleep and function.

If you have just started getting migraines for no apparent reason it is also important to be assessed by a doctor to rule out anything sinister that may be causing them.

If you have been diagnosed with Migraine headaches, here are some tips to help manage the pain of them that may give you some relief, decrease the intensity, severity or frequency of them occurring:

  • Know your triggers if you have any – this way you can avoid for example, eating cheese and chocolate if you know this will bring on a migraine!
  • Stay hydrated
  • Always have your prescribed medication on hand and take as directed by your doctor as soon as you realize you may be starting to experience migraine or pre-migraine symptoms. For example, if you are a sufferer who gets an aura or vision changes, take your medication immediately and do not wait for the full-blown migraine headache to kick in.
  • Take preventative medication if you have been prescribed this by your GP or neurologist
  • Have a back up plan to help with kids or work as you may be out of action for 1-3 days, depending on the severity of the attack
  • While you may be experiencing the migraine, stay in a dark, quiet room and rest, or try to sleep.
  • Some people report that once they have vomited the migraine headache can lift a bit and they can sleep
  • Use of ice pack or heat pack on forehead or neck for symptomatic relief
  • Hands on treatments such as Osteopathy on a regular basis to help maintain optimal muscle and joint function and prevent significant spasm, tightness and stiffness in the neck and shoulders which can contribute to migraine headaches
  • Use of spiky ball or other massage tool for neck and shoulder muscles to help relieve muscle tension
  • General exercise and fitness to help overall health

And remember, a migraine may be experienced once a year or once per month, but each time, they may be as debilitating and worrisome as the last, so ensure good strategies to help you manage your specific case!

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Author: Tanya Campbell
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Tanya Campbell

Member since: Nov 23, 2016
Published articles: 27

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