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Living with Migraine

Migraine diet & exercise catch 22

  • By Jennifer B.

    I’ve had migraines since I was 7 years old and I am now 51 years old. Recently my episodic migraines (3 or 4 per month) changed to daily chronic migraines. I’ve had migraines almost everyday this summer. I’m a teacher so I’m starting back to work which is very difficult. Botox has helped decrease the severity and I’m hoping once I’m through menopause things will improve. I have a great neurologist experienced with migraine treatment and I have a very supportive family, but I’m so sick of this!

    Before the daily chronic migraines diet and exercise were very effective preventatives. But now it’s so hard to get into a regular exercise routine when I’m in pain so much of the time. To make matters worse I overeat when I have a migraine. When I’m eating I forget about the pain. I know I should be thankful I don’t experience nausea like so many other migraine sufferers, but I’ve gained quite a few pounds this summer which just adds to the problem. I’m 5’3″ and 125 pounds so I’m not really overweight, but at this rate that will change rapidly.

    What can I do instead of eating to distract myself from the pain? Any suggestions for exercise routines? I’m thinking about some very basic, beginning yoga stretches. Thanks.

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  • By Dee

    Hi,
    Eat, but wisely. My doctor and a friend put me on an extreme migraine diet. basically it is fruit and veggies (no citrus), and some lean protein. You get really full, can eat as much as you want, and usually lose weight.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Jennifer B. – Have you ever considered trying Thai Chi? This has been shown in clinical trials to be helpful for pain patients. One of the reason it is so good is due to the distraction. There are many online tutorials that can help you get started.

    Think you might be interested in giving this a go???

    ~Ellen

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  • By Jennifer B.

    Thanks, Deee. I’m on a similar strict diet, but I fall off the wagon when the pain hits. When the pain comes I need something to occupy my mind and refocus my thoughts. Listening to soft music and doing some relaxation/breathing exercises helps, but I seem to revert back to snacking out of frustration.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi JenniferB.

    I’m sorry to hear your migraines are now chronic. I know how you feel about getting distracted from food when you have a migraine. Not with every migraine (thankfully) but with many attacks I crave carbs and have to work hard not to overindulge. It is kind of tricky for me now because I’m pretty much gluten free.

    Janet just wrote up a piece on how she distracts herself during a migraine. Maybe this information will help you too; https://migraine.com/blog/distracting-myself-from-discomfort/.

    Nancy

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  • By Jennifer B.

    Thanks, Sherrie. I’m not familiar with Chi gong, but I just looked it up and it definitely looks relaxing. My neck, shoulder, and back muscles get so tight during a migraine, so any kind of slow stretching and movement is just what I need.

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