Mar 17, 2016

8 ways to control migraine attacks

The migraine and I go a long time back. I remember we started to date around my engineering 1st year. The relationship continued for a solid 10-12 years and now finally we have drifted apart. When I look back, I had a number of bad habits that fueled this relationship:
- Skipping breakfast (not my fault entirely during college days, I had no choice)
- Drinking less water (again not my fault during college days. I hated going to the stinky, dirty bathrooms to answer nature calls)
- Giving long gaps between meals
- Drinking too much of tea and coffee (around 3-4 cups a day during my full-time working days)
- Eating more of cafeteria food (which in turn increased acidity)
- Eating too much of packaged food (around late evenings which is worse)

Whenever the migraine hits me with its full force, I would pop a pill immediately (Saridon tablet to be specific) and sleep for 30 minutes. The pain would have reduced but I would end up with severe acidity. My laptop bag always had a saridon strip handy for these migraine attacks in office. I neither tried any home remedies nor did I sleep it out without a painkiller.

During my pregnancy and lactation days, thankfully migraine didn't dare to take me out on a date. In the last 3-4 years, due to the following 8 conscious changes I started to make, the breakup has finally happened.

1) Eating breakfast every morning - Not the ready-to-eat processed cereal junk but proper, home-cooked Indian breakfast
2) Drinking atleast 2 litres of water everyday - I keep sipping from my steel bottle (no plastic) every now and then. I carry water from home whenever I step out.
3) No long gaps between meals - I eat whenever I feel hungry. I snack on healthy foods whenever I feel like munching something - dates, fruits, cucumbers, buttermilk etc
4) Reduced intake of tea/coffee - I stick to a max of 2 cups. If I feel like drinking one more cup, especially during winters, I have a cup of green tulsi tea, lemon ginger tea or cinnamon tea (without any milk or sugar)
5) Reduced time spent in front of a computer/laptop/smartphone - this is still tough but since my hobby involves time in the kitchen, I can easily take some time off from a screen :-)
6) Complete full-stop to junk food - I don't eat any of the packaged snacks, chips, chocolates or cookies. I don't have any craving for them.  Looking at the ingredients list of such junk food, any educated person should say No to them immediately. But sadly, our education system doesn't teach us how to keep ourselves fit and healthy, what to eat, what to avoid, how to cook healthy food etc. We are easily fooled by the so-called intelligent marketing of such processed foods.
7) Taking less stress - this is also tough but I'm atleast aware whenever my mind goes into the stressful mode and I try not to dwell too much about the people/incident/situation causing the stress. I know, easier said than done! :-(
8) Exercise regularly - My migraine attacks have reduced a lot ever since I started practicing Yoga.

Although these 8 steps have reduced the migraine attacks, I still face it once in a while - whenever the food triggers acidity, when I spend too much time in the sun, when I go to a hill station for a vacation etc. I also sometimes get sinus headaches when I wash my hair and not dry it immediately. It's very important to understand the trigger that is causing the headache in the first place. Once I know why it has happened, I usually try one of these home remedies that have helped me tremendously. And I have completely stopped taking any painkillers for migraine.

1) If it is a sinus headache (pain around eyes, nose and forehead), I do steam inhalation for 5 minutes. This is quite effective.
2) If it is due to acidity (throbbing headache along with nauseous feeling), I drink a glass of lemon water. I make myself a cup of ginger tea. Sometimes buttermilk with hing and grated ginger also helps.
3) If it is due to weather change, I try to sleep it out. Or I apply a paste of dry ginger on my forehead, wait for 15 minutes and wash it off. During winters, I sip plain warm water or Ajwain / Jeera infused warm water throughout the day.
4) If it is due to stress, listening to my favorite music is very helpful.

Do share if any other home remedies have helped you in controlling your migraine.

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