Migraine headache sufferers, or migraineurs, are most commonly women by a rate of three female sufferers to every one male. Researchers aren’t completely sure why there are more female migraineurs; however, there is some belief that fluctuations in estrogen levels play a part in bringing on a migraine. Other researchers feel that there may be a genetic link. Others feel there may be environmental causes. The one thing all researchers do agree on is that they don’t know what causes migraines or how to cure them.
In addition to the differences in migraineurs, each headache that a migraineur has can be different. A tactic that may have relieved a migraine in the past, may not work with every headache. While on the surface, the outlook for a migraineur seems rather bleak, there are several things that can be done by both the family and friends of a migraineur and sufferer themselves that can make living with migraines more bearable.
- Talk to your doctors about your migraines. All doctors you see on a regular basis, including your general practitioner, your gynecologist, your dentist, and your optometrist, should know that you get migraines and be aware of what you are doing to treat them. With migraines, it sometimes comes down to the more professionals working on the problem; the more likely you are to find a treatment that works. There are so many triggers for a migraine, from hormones, to TMD, to eyestrain, that the more health care professionals you have on your side, the more likely you will be to find some relief.
- Know your triggers. If your migraines are food related, such as red wine or certain cheeses, simply avoid those foods. This does, however, mean being careful when dining out or participating in potlucks. Everyone’s triggers are different and things that will trigger a headache once may not ever do it again. Some triggers are unavoidable, like stress, so the migraineur needs to learn how to best combat that trigger if it cannot be completely avoided.
- Keep your headache arsenal stocked. Migraineurs should never be out of any pain medications that have been prescribed, even if you haven’t had a headache in months. If you are on a daily prophylaxis and it is working, be sure that it is refilled in time and that you are taking it as prescribed. Remember, just because something didn’t work for you with one headache doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for another headache at another time. Herbal remedies, aromatherapy remedies, and other non-prescription remedies should also be kept in stock even if the only worked once.
- Learn, learn, learn. Learn all you can about migraines as well as different treatments for them. Encourage your family to do the same so they can help you take full advantage of treatments like acupressure and trigger-point therapy. Don’t discount a treatment until you have tried it at least twice. There are a variety of non-medication treatments that are being researched all the time. When you hear of a new therapy, do the research. In addition to acupressure, there is trigger-point therapy, TENS units, aromatherapy, Bach flowers, chiropractic, binaural beats, and a host of other non-medication options. Again, not every therapy will work for every headache, but is may be worth trying few to see if you can get some relief from them for times when you can’t use pain medications.
- Know you are not alone. Migraineurs often feel alone in their condition because no one around them seems to understand that migraine is more than just a headache. Sometimes just finding one person who also gets migraines helps because they understand and may have some therapies that you haven’t tried. Also, as you research migraines, include your family in on it. The more they learn about migraines and what is happening to you, the more support they will be able to provide. Even young children should know age-appropriate information about migraines and what they can do to help. As with most things, knowledge is power and the more you know about something, the more able you feel to deal with it. Migraineurs need to be open with how the feel and not hide their pain or try to push through it. Families are not mind-readers so the migraineur needs to let them know how they feel and what they think they need. Many times, it is just to be left alone in a dark, quiet room. But, because each headache is different, families and friends can’t guess what’s needed so it is important for both the sufferer and the care-givers to be open with their lines of communication.
Migraine headaches do not have to be a major life-altering condition, if they are managed carefully. While your team of physicians will be able to give ideas and suggestions to help you manage them, you are in charge of your headaches. Once you begin to develop your headache arsenal and your knowledge base about migraines, the better you will be able to manage migraines when they occur with as little disruption to your life as possible.
William Reynolds is an avid blogger and contributor to SergicalMeshHelp.com, a leading Transvaginal Mesh law firm serving injury victims.