In the United States, an estimated 39 million people—about 10% of the global population—have migraine; however, this is an often misunderstood diagnosis. 1 Migraine isn’t just a “severe headache” you can get over – it’s a complex neurological disorder that causes severe, throbbing head pain , plus other potentially debilitating symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, severe sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea and vomiting, as well as many other symptoms that can make your daily life impossible.
Fortunately, there are several prescription and over-the-counter medications available to help treat and prevent migraine attacks, understand your personal triggers, identify the onset of symptoms, and Prioritizing your physical and mental health during a migraine attack can make the feeling of living with the condition more manageable. SELF talks to people who know migraines and shares self-care practices to help them find relief when they need it most. This is their word of encouragement.
Back to basics.
Kira West, 29, a fitness influencer in Chicago, was diagnosed with migraines a few years ago. She has since discovered that her migraine attacks were triggered by extreme stress and therefore failed to take care of herself.
“I’ve noticed that my migraines happen when I don’t rest, eat well, drink enough water, or have enough time between trips,” she told SELF. The inevitable signs of her lax self-care—fatigue, appetite fluctuations, stress, and dehydration—all contributed to her migraine symptoms. “If I stop to take care of these little things, I find that I usually don’t get migraines as often or as intensely as I would if I ignored the signs,” she says.
have a good rest.
Kristin Jenny, 26, was diagnosed with migraines when she was about 10 years old. “As a kid who played competitive sports and probably took school too seriously, I would often get migraines to play games or not miss a day of school,” she tells SELF. “Since then it has become clear to me that there is no point in sticking with it as it will only prolong the symptoms and reduce my productivity.”
Now Jenny is lucky to be able to Remote work at a tech company that prioritizes employee health and allows her to take time off when her migraine attacks. When she gets home to rest, she settles into a dark room that creates a calm, relaxed atmosphere. “I also put a cold towel over my eyes, because migraines can sometimes make temperature regulation difficult and can cause eye pain or aura, so it’s nice to cover your eyes with a cool, soft cloth,” she says .
Jenny also found that massage or gentle stroking helped ease her migraines. If he was free, her husband would rub her temples, neck and head while she lay down, and apply cold compresses to her eyes.
Finally, if she has predetermined commitments, she’s not afraid to break them. “If I feel a migraine attack, I stop everything I’m doing, including calling in sick and not doing any exercise or triathlon training,” she said. “It’s something else I’ve had to learn over the years.”
Give your body proper energy.
Mimi Albert, 37, was only 7 when she was diagnosed with migraines. Over the past few decades, she has discovered what she can do The best thing to do to control a migraine is to identify her triggers before the attack is fully effective. Since her two triggers were undereating and dehydration, this mostly involved fueling her body in addition to taking medication. It can be challenging when she’s in back-to-back Zoom meetings, but she recognizes that these habits require careful consideration.