9 Tips for Managing Migraines

If you get headaches and think they are migraines, talk to a doctor. It’s important to be sure that the pain you feel is, in fact, a migraine, as there are many types of headaches and they are treated differently.  After you get the diagnosis, then what? What can you do at home if you or a loved one suffer from migraines? We reached out to Dr. Mia Finkelston who treats patients for LiveHealth Online and here are her tips on how to handle migraines:

  1. Identify your migraine triggers so you can avoid or prepare for them to help minimize a migraine’s impact. Triggers can include anything from menstrual periods to weather changes to caffeine withdrawal. Keeping a headache diary to chart when you get migraines and behaviors that may have caused them can be helpful.
  2. Watch what you eat. Certain foods can contribute to the frequency and duration of migraines. The include avocados, chocolate, bananas, citrus fruits and pickled foods. Red wine and any foods with monosodium glutamate in them should also be avoided.
  3. Establish consistent habits to help prevent migraines. Set a sleep schedule, exercise regularly, avoid dehydration and eat healthy foods.
  4. Experiment with aromatherapy. The scent of lavender may have calming effects that help relieve migraines. Try adding a few drops of lavender oil to a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Lavender oil or balm can also be rubbed into the temples and wrists. Peppermint is another scent that may help relieve migraines. Peppermint oil can be used similarly to lavender oil. You could also try drinking a cup of peppermint tea or use the actual herb in cooking. All this can help.
  5. Find ways to de-stress. Try meditation. Adopt a movement practice like yoga or daily walks. Consider taking baths. All these simple activities can help prevent migraines.
  6. Experiment with temperature compresses. A cold towel or a hot compress, or alternating between the two, can soothe a pounding head.
  7. Massage your scalp or, better yet, have someone do it for you. Applying pressure to your head, especially your temples, can relieve pain.
  8. Limit sensory overload. If you feel a migraine coming on, put yourself in a relaxing environment where there are no loud noises, bright lights or overbearing smells.
  9. Get your vision checked because eyestrain can contribute to migraines. Don’t stare at your phone or computer for too long. This puts a burden on your eyes.

Comments and opinions from Dr. Mia Finkelston are hers alone. This is content from an interview and is not considered medical treatment.

Photo of Mia Finkelston
Mia Finkelston
Family Physician
20 years of experience
MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine

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