Find Out When a Migraine’s Going to Strike

woman holding head

Did you need another reminder about why listening to your body is important? I just found a fantastic article on the Wall Street Journal’s website about migraines. It highlights the pre-migraine symptoms (called the premonitory stage of migraines) that clue people in to the fact that they are about to get a migraine. Migraines are painful and very debilitating, but taking a little time to become aware of the common “hints” that you may be about to experience one puts you more in touch with your body, and allows you to make changes to your schedule or plans that might prevent the migraine from hitting.

The WSJ.com describes the cues that come before a migraine as follows:

Yet, a few hours or days before the dreaded headache sets in, subtle symptoms emerge: Some people feel unusually fatigued, cranky or anxious. Some have yawning jags. Others have food cravings or excessive thirst.If migraine sufferers can learn to identify their particular warning signs, they may be able to head off the headache pain with medication or lifestyle changes before it begins, experts say.

via Stopping a Migraine Before It Starts – WSJ.com.

I work  with many clients who experience migraines and for many, the “hints” become very apparent. But the full list of all the things that could be considered pre-cursors is wide ranging.  From the same article:

Warning Signs

Premonitory symptoms that can occur days before a migraine:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes
  • Food cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yawning
  • Increased urination
  • Muscle stiffness

Triggers

Over 100 have been identified, among the most common:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Aged cheese
  • Red wine
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Weather changes

Treatments

The list keeps growing and there are no cures:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Triptans
  • Beta blockers
  • Antiseizure drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Botox
  • Acupuncture, massage, biofeedback

Obviously, I would add massage to the list of treatments because many times stress is a major trigger for migraines, and massage is a wonderful stress-reducer.  I wanted to share this article with you because it really helped me understand more about how listening to your body can be a wonderful exercise, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be all about listening to your muscles. Noticing patterns between activities, emotional states, behaviors and physiological changes gives you more power to treat issues and problems before they become full-blown medical issues. It can also assist your primary care physician as you work on diagnosing problems.  If you’d like to know more about listening to your body, you can try this exercise here: BodyScan – Find Where It Hurts

Photo credit flickr.com CCL user: SashaW

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