It’s National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about headache and migraine diseases that impact one billion people across the globe. Migraine can affect your health and overall wellbeing more than you may realize, and there are many ways to manage symptoms that don’t require medication.
What’s the difference between a headache and a migraine?
It can be difficult to understand what exactly is going on in your headspace. Headaches have two different categories, primary and secondary, and usually cause a throbbing pain in the head, face, or upper neck. Primary headaches refer to the specific conditions that cause pain, and secondary headaches occur as a result of a medical condition. A migraine is an extremely painful primary headache disorder with more intense symptoms that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
Common Migraine Triggers
- Stress – can lead to migraine attacks and affect sleep, eating habits and general wellbeing
- Caffeine – it’s OK to have caffeine to ease head pain, but too much can intensify it
- Excessive screen-time or light exposure – screen time includes monitors, TVs, smart phones and tablets
- Tense muscles – overworking your body can put pressure on your head
- Dehydration – 9-13 cups a day is recommended, depending on your body type and activities
With migraines being the second leading cause of disability worldwide and 16 million people in the U.S. undiagnosed, it’s important to recognize these common triggers. General improvements in your lifestyle makes all the difference in your ability to cope with migraine attacks. Aim to exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, and keep up with other healthy habits.
Ways to Take Care of a Headache
- For a migraine – place a cold pack on your forehead for 15 minutes
- For a tension headache – place a heating pad on your neck or back of your head
- For a sinus headache – hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts or take a warm shower
- Dim the lights – excessive screen-time or bright lights can trigger a migraine
- Stay hydrated and minimize caffeine intake
- Practice relaxation methods – yoga, meditation, or self-massaging your forehead, neck and temples by applying gentle, rotating pressure to painful areas
- Keep a migraine diary – track daily meals and activities to find out what might be triggering your migraine attacks to prevent them in the future
- Have ginger to ease migraines
Unwind Your Mind
If your headache or migraine is too chronic without use of medication, BHT has care available for you. Talk with your primary care provider or check out BHT’s virtual care options.
Visit MigraineHeadacheAwarenessmonth.org for more information about National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and ways you can get involved.