My head was throbbing, and I felt like I could blow chunks at any moment. More than anything, I wanted to crawl into bed with the covers over my head and disappear. But I couldn’t because two pairs of beautiful eyes were staring at me, filled with all of the needs and wants for the day. They needed to be fed, held, cuddled, spoken to, and cared for. So, what did I do? I pushed through it, was in agony all day, and finally crashed at night, when my husband got home.
Thinking back, I should have handled it differently. Why suffer through migraines, instead of taking steps to help myself? If you have extreme headaches or migraines, consider these options instead of suffering through the pain:
- Be proactive and avoid foods that are migraine triggers. Processed meats like bacon, deli meats, sausage, pepperoni, and hot dogs contain nitrates, which have been proven to bring on severe headaches. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that is a migraine trigger, as well. I almost didn’t write these next two (because it hurts my soul to think of life without them), but cheese and alcohol are also on the list. As with anything, consume in moderation and listen to your body; you’ll begin to notice the correlation between certain foods and your migraines.
- Hot or cold compresses and warm showers can lessen the pain. The pressure from the water on your head is also a relief. A midday shampoo session has saved me from intense headaches on many occasions.
- Turn the lights down and avoid all technology with screens; no cellphones, laptops, or television until you feel better.
- Massage your temples and pressure points, like the base of your thumb and index finger. Press down for five minutes, using a circular motion. Apply firm pressure, but ease up if you’re experiencing more pain than relief.
- Drink a caffeinated beverage, as caffeine can relieve migraine pain in the early stages. It can also intensify the effects of pain-reliever pills.
- Add ginger to your tea, juice, or smoothie. Ginger has proven to alleviate migraine pain and nausea.
- Rub peppermint oil or lavender oil on your temples. These are natural remedies that can also be inhaled.
- If your current medication or over-the-counter pills are not easing your symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for more options.
Being honest with my children about my pain has been helpful. “Shhhh, Mommy has a migraine,” I often say, and they have mercy on me, playing quietly. I’ve also humbled myself enough to ask for help. My mother is so supportive and has taken time out of her day (countless times) to watch the kids while I take a quick nap. Rely on your village and reach out for help when you need it. With all of these tools in your tool belt, migraines don’t stand a chance against you.