5 Ways Migraine Sufferers Can Keep Their Holidays Jolly

Noah Rosen, MD

From dealing with the endless lines while gift-shopping to burning the candle at both ends trying to attend all of the holiday parties, this time of year can be anything but jolly for migraine sufferers.

During the holiday season, we tend to sleep less, eat more and exercise less frequently – a bad combination that can trigger attacks in migraine sufferers. The good news is, you can prevent severe episodes of migraine by following this advice:
● Don’t skip meals. Empty stomachs can trigger headaches, so keep a regular and healthy eating schedule.

● Avoid common food triggers for migraine. Avoid things like ripe cheese, processed meat that include nitrates and chocolate.

● Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Stick to a regular sleep pattern by going to bed and waking up at the same time, even on the weekends. Lack of sleep can bring on migraines.

● Drink in moderation—if at all. Alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water and avoid red wine, since it contains an amino acid, which is a common migraine trigger.

● Shop early or online. The worst scenario for a migraine sufferer is to go shopping during peak time when the stores are hectic and hot. Try shopping earlier in the day to avoid the crowds and longer lines. Or better yet, shop online from the convenience of your own home.

Don’t forget about yourself.  With all of the holiday stress and busier than usual schedules, don’t forget to take time out for yourself and do whatever makes you happy--even if that means alone time or buying something for yourself.

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Regular Exercise May Help Guard Against Migraine

Robert Duarte, MD

Exercise can prevent migraines just as well as drugs or relaxation techniques, according to a new study recently published online by the journal Cephalalgia. In the study, 91 migraine patients were evaluated over the course of three months. One third of the patients were asked to exercise for 40 minutes three times each week. Another third of the participants performed relaxation techniques and the final third were prescribed a migraine drug called topiramate. Researchers found that the patients in all three groups experienced fewer migraines and found that exercise was just as effective in preventing migraines as the medication and relaxation techniques.

The study shows the importance of an exercise program. As we know, exercise is another form of relaxation and is known to cause a release in endorphins, which are the body’s own pain-reducing substances. Migraine patients should be strongly advised to introduce an exercise program as part of their migraine prevention program. Additionally, migraine patients should make sure to see a primary medical doctor before starting an exercise routine.

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