Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Your Risk of Migraines

Migraines can be an incredibly frustrating condition to deal with — and one out of every four households in the United States has someone who suffers from these debilitating headaches, including children. While there’s no silver bullet when it comes to a cure, we do know that many migraines can be triggered by anything from diet to weather.

At Spinal Diagnostics, the goal of our qualified team of pain management specialists is to help our patients find relief from pain. And we’ve found that things you do to prevent the pain in the first place play an important role, which is certainly true of migraines.

To give you an idea of some of the lifestyle changes that make a big difference in the frequency, duration, and severity of migraines, we outline some of the more common triggers here and how to avoid them.

Your migraines and your diet

As researchers continue the search for the exact cause of migraines, they’ve unearthed possible links to certain foods and drinks. While these dietary items don’t exactly cause a migraine, they can trigger them. The most common culprits include:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Processed foods
  • Foods with high levels of tyramine, such as aged cheese
  • Certain additives and preservatives, such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate, respectively

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it represents the more common dietary triggers when it comes to migraines. So the first lifestyle choice you should make if you identify something in your diet that appears to trigger migraines is to cut these foods and drinks out entirely.

Taking a time out

Another possible trigger of a migraine attack is stress. In fact, high-stress levels are linked to a host of medical conditions, from high blood pressure to chronic pain. Whether or not your migraine attacks are influenced by stress, it can’t hurt to take steps to destress your life for overall wellness.

To do this, you might try exercising more, which is shown to reduce stress, as well as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga. Again, even if your migraines aren’t related to stress, there’s still everything to gain from removing excess stress from your life.

Get your zzzs

Good sleep patterns that provide your body with the restorative sleep it needs are critical to your overall health and may help reduce the frequency of your migraines. Be sure to go to bed around the same time each night and ensure that you get 6-8 hours of solid sleep. This not only leaves you feeling more energetic and refreshed, it may cut down on your headaches.

Weathering the weather

Some people have migraines that are triggered by weather, including exercising in colder temps. When the winter months roll around, be mindful of not overdoing it outdoors when there’s a sudden drop in temperature. By the same token, overdoing it in high heat can also trigger migraines. The bottom line is that if your migraine diary demonstrates a link to weather patterns, plan accordingly and take steps to protect yourself against temperature swings.

Getting help

While these lifestyle changes can go a long way toward mitigating your migraine attacks, we can also do our part by finding an appropriate treatment plan for your head pain so that you can find relief.

To get started, contact one of our three Oregon offices in Tualatin, Portland, and Newberg to set up an appointment.

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