Migraine sufferers know when a headache is no longer a headache — often marked by a sudden wave of pain, nausea, blurred vision, and high sensitivity to light and sound. The signs are usually apparent a day in advance for long-time patients and symptoms can last four to 72 hours, sometimes longer.
You’re not imagining things if you feel like you experience more migraines when the seasons change. Seasonal migraines are common, especially from winter to spring. Of course, learning how to prevent seasonal migraines is critical to finding relief.
How Do Seasonal Changes Trigger Migraines?
Are you prone to migraines? If so, you’re in good company. Nearly 39 million Americans get migraines, making it one of the leading neurological conditions.
A lot of times, seasonal changes trigger horrible headaches. Perhaps you’ve heard of barometric pressure — when a rainstorm or other weather fluctuations cause warm and cold air to mix, creating a drop in air pressure. Studies suggest these changes in barometric pressure affect your nasal and sinus activities by pushing fluid into the tissues, possibly putting pressure on your brain’s pain receptors, too.
Of course, barometric pressure isn’t the only trigger for seasonal migraines. Springtime allergies may also negatively affect your sinuses, leading to the onset of a bad headache or worse.
How To Prevent Seasonal Migraines: 6 Tips For Spring
Seasons come and go. While you may not be able to control the weather, there are several things you can do to prevent migraine headaches this spring. Here are six helpful strategies for migraine prevention and care this spring.
1. Control Your Allergies
Managing your springtime allergies can save you from much discomfort. Purchasing over-the-counter antihistamine medicines from your local pharmacy can reduce sinus inflammation.
You should also discuss more potent medications for allergy symptoms with your doctor. Prescription medication may deliver the correct dose to relieve extreme allergies and prevent seasonal migraines.
2. Ask For Migraine Medicine
Over-the-counter medication for headaches and pain often helps take the edge off of a migraine. Some painkillers even specify that they treat migraine episodes.
Like allergy medicine, your doctor can prescribe something stronger for days when you feel a migraine coming on. Discuss your concerns with a medical specialist to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
3. Practice Vertigo Exercises
Sometimes, migraine prevention doesn’t pan out and you suffer an episode anyway. In that case, you can try to manage individual symptoms as they arise. For instance, several exercises reduce vertigo.
Gaze stabilization is an easy vertigo exercise you can do on your bed to relieve dizziness. Extend an arm in front of you with a raised index finger and stare at your index finger for 15 seconds, turning your head slowly from side to side. When you return to the center, keep your eyes on your finger, but gradually move your head up and down. You can repeat this a couple of times until you notice a difference.
4. Wear Sunglasses
You’ll want to keep your sunglasses on hand as early spring rain turns to summer sunshine, as light can easily trigger seasonal migraines. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Additionally, consider investing in blue-light-blocking glasses for when you use your devices. Blue light in screens mimics sunlight and can cause a migraine episode. Taking 20-minute breaks from your computer can also reduce blurred vision and headaches.
5. Maintain A Healthy Diet
Nutrition is essential for preventing seasonal migraines. Studies show you have a 75% higher risk of chronic migraines if you are obese, while overweight individuals have a 40% higher risk.
Eliminating trigger foods — alcohol, caffeine, sugar, chocolate, dairy products, citrus and aspartame — is helpful. To know what foods trigger your migraines, pay attention to whether migraines occur 50% of the time after you eat something.
6. Sleep it Off
Naturally, sleep is the best medicine for when you feel a migraine coming on or are in the throes of an episode. Although some migraine sufferers say they struggle to sleep with the pain, shut-eye can reduce many symptoms, including light sensitivity, vertigo and nausea.
Your sleep position matters, too. The American Migraine Foundation suggests sleeping on your side to align the spine better. You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach, which adds pressure to your back. A comfortable pillow will support your head and neck as well.
Enjoy A Migraine-Free Spring
A few changes to your routine and some simple tools can give you a fighting chance against migraines this spring. Although you may feel head pressure some days, you can prevent a full-blown episode with careful migraine management and treatments.