Sense a Migraine Coming On? Here’s How to Immediately Take Action

by BUST Magazine

Smart Strategies for When Migraines Strike

Your skull is pounding, and you feel like you’re about to lose your lunch. On top of that, you’re dizzy, tired, and disoriented. Welcome to having a migraine! These nasty neurological events happen to way more women than men, and they can mess up your stomach, vision, hearing, and balance, leaving you in a puddle of pain. Treatment for migraines is a headache in and of itself, since symptoms and triggers are different for everybody. So what’s a lady to do?

First, see a neurologist to diagnose your specific type of migraine, and to rule out any other health issues. Many prescriptions and OTC treatments cause rebound headaches—more intense migraines from your body becoming dependent on the medication—so choose a treatment that’s sustainable and not physically addictive.

At the first sign of an attack, like nerve tingles and/or stomach upset, take a mixture of buffered aspirin, magnesium, and marijuana (which also helps with pain and nausea), where legal. Consult with your doctor about the proper dosage for any medications and supplements. Put an ice pack on the back of your neck, soak in a bath with Epsom salts, and take a nap. Nothing resets an overloaded brain quite like an hour-long mid-afternoon snooze when you feel the symptoms coming on. Then have some caffeine and try to get a light massage.

On days you’re not migraine-y, take these supplements to maintain yo’ brain and reduce the risk of more attacks: magnesium (it also works as a preventative), CoQ10, vitamin B complex, and black cohosh (which helps with hormonal migraines and inflammation). Also try mellow exercise; too much or too little exercise can cause migraines, so try low-impact activities like brisk walks, yoga, or cruising on a bike. And consider finding a physical therapist if your migraines are injury-related. Most insurance companies cover acupuncture, which can be a magical treatment for migraine prevention and treatment. Meditation can also reduce migraine frequency. Avoid alcohol, processed meats, and aged cheese because they’re all known triggers. And finally, the more regular your sleep patterns are, the better your head will feel. 

Written by: Lauren Maul

Illustration by: Alabaster

This story was originally featured in BUST Magazine. Subscribe today! 

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