It is not just a headache. Migraine sufferers know best how debilitating one can be, making work and even sleep impossible at times. When migraines occur, sufferers often go straight to painkillers. However, while painkillers may offer instant, initial relief, painkillers often cause unwanted side effects.
The first step towards migraine-free life is finding out what specifically triggers the pain. Observing your lifestyle and consulting your doctor can help uncover the source. Most migraine triggers are curable, and those that are not can be reduced to a great extent.
Following these nine preventive, natural methods can help you find a permanent antidote for your migraines.
#1 Listen to your body
Did you know that the Headache Centre of Atlanta has found stress to be a major migraine trigger? Around 80% of all migraines sufferers report stress as a troubling factor. If stress is not your trigger, then it could be one of the following: hormones (65%), odors (44%), lights (38%), smoke (36%), heat (30%), food (27%), or other disruptions like magnesium or calcium deficiency.
#2 Meditate Daily
The Shanti Meditation (also a meditation guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) is also a powerful practice for reducing migraines. The meditation helps with relaxation and healing and when you are deeply rested, your healing mechanism activates. Meditation in general is effective for everybody. However, the Shanti Meditation also helps reduce blood pressure, which happens to be a common trigger of migraines.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that women suffer migraine headaches three times more often than men in adulthood? If you are a woman, there is a high possibility that the post-adolescent change in hormone levels is the source of your migraines.
If you are suffering menstrual or post-partum (after childbirth) migraines, try the Hari Om Meditation (a meditation guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), which addresses migraine issues by bringing fluctuating hormone levels to a stable, normal state. Consistent practice is necessary to see effective results over a period of time.
#3 Eat a Healthy Diet
Did you know that the kind of food and the intervals at which you eat are important determinants in keeping you healthy and migraine free? Create a routine for yourself by eating three sizeable, healthy meals a day or six small healthy meals a day. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is another trigger of migraines.
Chocolate, wine, cheese, processed meat, MSGs, yeast, nuts, pickles, peanut butter, and avocados are inflammatory and can cause flare-ups for a migraine sufferer. It may be a little difficult to eliminate these foods from your diet if they are among your favorites, but with consistent effort, so start slowly with a gradual process of elimination. After eliminating inflammatory foods for at least two weeks, add in the foods one at a time to see whether your migraines are triggered.
#4 Exercise and Stretch
Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being migraine free. Exercise naturally relieves stress and causes the brain to release endorphins, which helps relieve pain and increase feelings of well-being.
#5 Get Plenty of Sleep
If you are in pain, sleeping in a dark room can help deepen sleep. Also, sleeping at the same time every night keeps migraines at bay. Sleep for at least 7 hours, preferably between 10 PM and 6 AM. Find out here about how meditation can improve sleep.
#6 Balance Work and Rest
Overwork is one of the primary causes of stress, and stress is a primary cause of migraines. Opt for less work and more play, and be sure to give yourself time to relax throughout the day. Meditation retreats are an excellent way to reduce stress and take time off from work.
#7 Learn Relaxation Techniques
The Sudarshan Kriya (SK), taught by the Art of Living Foundation, is a unique breathing and relaxation technique that is an effective cure in healing patients with migraines. SK is associated with an increase in GABA levels, the absence of which is a cause of migraines and anxiety. It also relaxes the nervous system while balancing stress hormones. Know more about Sudarshan Kriya here.
#8 Detox through Massage
Certain massage treatments can detoxify the body. However, massage is often saved for special occasions. Massage is a powerfully therapeutic technique that releases deeply-held stress. And like most techniques, the more often massage is practiced, the better the results. Trained therapists, like those at the Art of Living Panchakarma centers across India and abroad, can help you de-stress. Panchakarma treatments, such as Vamana and Virechana, are proven natural methods for detoxifying the body. Undergoing Panchakarma just once a year can remarkably improve your overall health.
#9 Eliminate Fear
Have you noticed that at times the fear of a migraine attack can also cause one? Does the fear of doing something detrimental to your health always lurk in the back of your mind? Fear is intimately connected with stress, and lessening fear can immediately result in lessened migraine symptoms. Learn more about how to get rid of fear with meditation here.
Since we are all made differently, what might be effective for one might not be helpful for all, so try different combinations to see what works best for you. Listen to your body and create your regime accordingly. And remember - nothing is permanent! A healthy, stress-free lifestyle is nature’s medicine.
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