Our "Ask Me Anything-Migraine Triggers" Event - Here's the Recap!
On Monday, June 15th, Migraine.com hosted our Ask Me Anything (AMA) event on Facebook, facilitated by our moderators and team in honor of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM). The purpose was to provide a set time where members of our community could ask any questions they want about migraine triggers, knowing there was a group of people on hand to either answer or direct them to helpful information and resources. The results were tremendous! The event prompted over 76 questions – not to mention answers, comments, and follow-up replies!
Questions included topics such as waking up with a migraine attack, dealing with migraine attacks due to heat/humidity, and "keeping your head in check" when stress is a trigger. Other inquiries included "my migraines started at 25 and I was told they would end at age 65... any truth to that?", "I have so many triggers, I wouldn't know where to start", and neck pain that can accompany a migraine attack.
Our moderators and team provided responses springing from personal experience as well as the wealth of articles on Migraine.com. If you are interested in the answers to the above topics, here are brief summaries of what was mentioned: (to see all the posts in their entirety, please visit the Facebook post here)
- On waking up with a migraine attack: Many times when we wake with migraine it may be indicative of a sleep issue. You may want to ask your doctor about having a sleep study done. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is also very important for people with migraine. We have information on sleep triggers here and here that may help.
- Dealing with migraine attacks due to heat/humidity: Try to minimize time spent outdoors on high humidity/heat days. When it is unavoidable, try to make sure that you have plenty to drink, for example, alternating between pure water and Gatorade if that works for you. Plus, I using bandanas found in the sporting goods section can be helpful - you can get them wet, and the middle expands to hold the water. You can try tying them around your neck and/or head to keep cool. Personal fans help, too... especially the ones with a water reservoir so you can spray a mist on your face. Lightweight, light colored clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and a source of shade (even if it's a large umbrella). All of these can help a great deal. Additionally, Sarah wrote a nice piece on avoiding summertime triggers. You might find some other ideas in her article, here.
- Keeping your head in check when stress is a trigger: Stress management techniques can help immensely. Yoga, gentle exercise (walking a few days a week), and mindfulness can be incredibly helpful. Here's an introductory article on yoga. Guess what? You don't have to be in shape or super-flexible to do this. Also, it is important to look at other behaviors surrounding stress that may trigger migraine. For example, tensing your neck muscles, not getting proper sleep or eating properly, etc., can all be triggers, and working on those behaviors can be helpful in cutting down on stress-triggered migraines. Lastly, something else to think about during stressful periods are the things we do or don't do. For example, are we skipping meals or eating trigger foods? Are we staying hydrated and keeping a regular sleeping schedule? These all can contribute to triggering an attack. This is an interesting article on stress and migraine.
- "My migraines started at 25 and I was told they would end at age 65... any truth to that?" Many people do experience fewer migraines after menopause (or migraines that are less severe). Unfortunately it's not a slam dunk as others notice no change in their migraine severity. Here's a great overview from Dr. Hutchinson.
- "I have so many triggers, I wouldn't know where to start." One of the best ways to identify triggers is by keeping a migraine diary. With all the apps out there today it really is easier than ever. Here is some information on how to keep one that may help so it doesn't seem so overwhelming.
- "I have a neck pain preceding a migraine. Any suggestions other than stretches and muscle relaxants?" Neck pain can occur in the prodrome (first) stage of a migraine attack, so you might find that taking your migraine medication earlier in the migraine process will help with this symptom. You can learn more about migraine phases and symptoms in this article. We also have an article on migraine and neck pain that might be helpful (there is community discussion at the bottom of the post).
We’d like to send an extra special thank you to everyone who participated for making this event the success that is was, as well as express how much we appreciate our expert moderators for their quick typing and helpful responses! We will keep the community updated on our next AMA or other events, and we do hope to see YOU there!
When it comes to planning vacations or other events where travel is required, how much does migraine factor into your decision-making?