That went on for many years, until one day when I was 24 years old. It was early in the morning, and I was sitting at my desk at work. There was a haze on my computer screen that I could not fix, so I went into another room that had a department computer.
The other PC was not the solution. In fact, that haze on the screen was getting worse. Then I noticed a small blue oval in the middle of the screen. Yet it was not the screen. It was me.
I was scared. Luckily a friend had just come into the office, so I called on her for help. A little while later, I was sent home in a car. Though nothing else hurt, I could not see straight at all. By the time I got home, my head was killing me. The pain was horrendous. I could not eat. I could not sleep. I could not watch television. By that time, I was sure something was seriously wrong.
After a few hours and a call to my creative friend, the headache subsided, and I could see again. I had just experienced my first migraine. Since that day, I have had the utmost empathy for anyone who has to experience that on a regular basis. It was awful.
So what are people who do suffer from migraines to do? Not wanting to sit around and wait for the next one, I did some research on ways to reduce migraines. As it turns out, the ability to get migraines under control is a daunting task. Basically, the best hope for doing so comes from carefully keeping an eye on what triggers an attack, which can vary widely from one individual to the next.
Here are a few ways to potentially reduce the frequency and severity of migraines:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for migraine sufferers. Experts believe packing your diet with foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Ribovlavin, Vitamin B6, coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B12, and magnesium could help reduce the effects of migraines, and they're currently doing research to see if their suspicions are true.
2. Avoid Trigger Foods
Many migraine sufferers find that foods are common headache triggers. Drinks containing caffeine, dairy products, foods made with heavy yeast, fermented foods, nuts, alcohol, flavorings, sulfites, MSG (monosodium glutamate), and various fruits are all common culprits.
Again, it is all about finding your triggers. While some people find that caffeine sets off their migraines, others may find that caffeine helps. It is important to take notice of what helps and what makes matters worse.
3. Get Regular Exercise
Get that blood flowing with some exercise! In addition to all of the other health benefits that come with regular exercise, it is widely known that regular exercise can decrease the frequency and severity of migraines.
4. Use Herbal Remedies
Herb enthusiasts recommend taking Feverfew which may reduce the frequency and migraine headaches. Another commonly recommended herb is Butterbur, which is also used to help people who suffer from allergies and asthma. I have a couple of friends who swear that these herbs have helped them tremendously. However, before starting with herbal remedies, speak with a professional about whether this remedy is the right fit for you.
5. Regulate Your Sleep Patterns
Regular sleep is extremely important for headache sufferers, especially those who get migraines. Both lack of sleep and oversleeping can be common headache triggers, as can habitual snoring. Plus, as people who have bouts of insomnia know, lack of sleep can significantly add to stress levels, and stress is another common trigger for migraines.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Keep a canteen full of water near you throughout the day. And don't just look at it, drink it! Dehydration can be yet another risk factor for headaches, so it is important for migraine sufferers to stay well-hydrated. Drink up!
7. Relax with Biofeedback Techniques
If you are not familiar with the term, do not be alarmed. Biofeedback is basically a form of learned relaxation. When we can learn how to raise the temperature of our hands, it diverts some of the blood flow from the head and sends it to another part of the body. If that can be done at the onset of a migraine, it can potentially reduce the severity and length of the headache.
Photo source: Morguefile.com