This summer's heat has been one for the record books. Trying to prevent migraines can be especially difficult for some people during hot and humid weather. Thankfully, there are a number of strategies you can use to avoid getting migraines as frequently and severely as normal – even during the summer heat.
Learn to Avoid Personal Migraine Triggers
Start a headache diary to track everything about your headaches. Write down when they occur (day and time), how long they last, their severity, and details about the situation in which symptoms began (Loud or quiet? Light or dark? Hot or cold? etc.). In addition, jot down the food and beverages you consumed prior to the onset of symptoms.
Creating a headache journal can help you track and identify your personal triggers. Once you begin to notice a pattern, you can begin avoiding the foods, temperatures, and situations that tend to aggravate or launch your pain.
In addition to keeping track of the circumstances of the day and time of your migraines, also pay attention to less obvious potential triggers. Some common migraine triggers include the following:
- Irregular sleep schedules, or too much or too little sleep
- Stressful situations at home or at work
- Strenuous or high-intensity exercise
- Magnesium deficiency
- Hunger and dehydration
Once you can identify your own primary triggers, be sure you act to avoid them. For instance, set a strict bedtime and morning alarm (and stick to it – even on weekends!). To avoid hunger as a trigger, eat within an hour of waking and eat at least every three hours throughout the day. Discuss the possibility of taking magnesium supplements with your doctor, or up your dietary magnesium intake by eating more nuts, spinach, and soybeans.
Tack Your Progress in Managing and Preventing Migraines
Another handy tool for measuring your progress is the Migraine Disability Assessment. Try filling out the assessment before you begin your “intervention” and then repeat it monthly or quarterly to see whether your trigger avoidance and prevention techniques are actually helping reduce migraine frequency and severity.
If you do not see marked improvement after 6 months of self-management lifestyle changes and trigger avoidance, bring in your headache diaries and Migraine Disability Assessments to a headache expert for further advice.
Migraines can be a difficult beast to beat, especially when common triggers surround you on a daily basis. By doggedly tracking and working to prevent your migraines, however, you may be able to achieve a life much less affected by these horrible headaches. And with this summer’s heat, you may want to start today!