How To Cope With Migraines

Migraines are more than just bad headaches, as anyone who has had one will tell you. According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), some 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from this debilitating disease. New medicines offer hope for dealing with painful migraines, but there is no cure for them. Learning how to cope with them can be a tremendous help, especially since migraines seem to affect people differently.

Anxiety, stress, and depression can be both triggering and symptomatic of migraines, according to Verywell Health. The situation can be cyclical because stress and/or depression can cause migraines, or migraines can cause anxiety and/or depression. Seeking help from a psychologist that specializes in migraines may help break this pattern. Doctors may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people recognize and change negative thought patterns as well as other behaviors that may increase the odds of developing migraines (via American Headache Society).

Other coping mechanisms for migraines

While you cannot remove all stress in your life, you can learn to cope with it better. Find ways to manage your time and simplify your life, instead of adding more to your to-do list. The Mayo Clinic also suggests learning how to relax. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on your breathing 10 minutes a day while scanning your body for any areas of tension. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to stretch can also actually relieve tension in your body. You should also do something fun. Even if it is only for 15 minutes, working on a hobby or playing a game can help take your mind off of stressors. 

Also, keeping a migraine diary is important because it will help you recognize patterns or triggers. Your diary should include everything you can remember about what happened before your migraine began including when it started, what you were doing, where you were, what you ate or drank prior to the migraine, your stress levels, and how long it lasted, per the AMF. When you can begin to see a pattern developing, such as a migraine after you drink wine or have a stressful day at work, you can begin working on preventive measures.