How many times were you just minding your business throughout the day and all of the sudden you feel a pounding headache?
Migraines can be very frustrating, especially if they affect us on a regular basis. This could lead to bad workdays, arguments with your spouse, and social engagements that feel more like a struggle rather than fun and enjoyable. It is easy to feel helpless when battling against chronic migraines, luckily however we found some hope! Below are 5 lifestyles modifications that you can implement and start feeling better today!
A scientific study published by Calhoun, etal in 2010 discovered that most people struggling with migraines also have neck pain. In the clinic, we have seen that neck pain is almost always associated with poor posture. This posture typically includes a head that stoops forward, and the shoulders rounded inwards. This puts the spine in an unstable position and can compress and irritate your nerves. It is absolutely necessary to be mindful of your posture throughout the day, especially if you suffer from migraines or neck pain. In the clinic we have found success treating headaches with manual therapy techniques to loosen up the muscles and special posture exercises to strengthen very specific muscles. Do want to improve your posture but you don’t know where to start? Head over to Dr Berman’s YouTube channel to find a variety of exercises that can help improve the posture, while reducing neck pain and headaches.
Breathing the Wrong Way
Have you ever heard of diaphragmatic breathing? This type of breathing calms the nervous system and relaxes the body. In the clinic, we teach all of our patients how to breathe with the diaphragm due to the therapeutic benefits. You can try it at home now by first putting your hands on your belly. You should feel your stomach move out when you inhale and relax when you exhale. For better results, keep your breaths slow and controlled.
Certain Foods and Drinks
There are specific foods and drinks that could be playing a role in your migraines. A common stressor for headaches is drinking caffeinated beverages, such as coffee. Drinking greater than 100 mg of caffeine per day (about the amount in one 8 oz cup) is a risk factor for developing chronic headaches. Other common triggers for migraines are aged cheeses, smoked meats, alcohol, and food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners. Creating a food diary is a great tool to identify if certain foods/drinks are triggering your migraines.
Currently, we are living in the middle of a pandemic and stress levels are at an all-time high. Research shows that individuals who report high levels of stress are at greater risk for developing migraines. It is critical for us to develop healthy habits to help manage our stress. Some good ways to reduce stress include meditation, exercise, taking a walk, and journaling.
Drink More Water
Did you know that most Americans don’t drink enough water? Studies show that dehydration is especially a problem for our senior citizen population. Dehydration is a common trigger for headaches, so it is important to be adequately hydrated. An easy number to strive for is to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
What good is information if it is not applied in real life? Let’s make it a goal to work on improving at least one of these lifestyle factors for each of the next 7 days and see how you feel. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling better and you keep up these new lifestyle habits for the long run! If you want to get started but you’re not sure how, then feel free to reach out to Berman PT and we’ll be happy to help!