10 Tips for living with Migraines

10 Tips for living with Migraines

Posted on March 29 by Dr. Elizabeth Leroux
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A migraine is more than just a headache, it's actually a complex neurological disorder. How scary is it then that migraines are the third most common disease in the world? While there is no one-size-fits all treatment for migraines, here are some doctor-given advice to dealing with your average migraine.

  1. 1) Be proactive, learn about migraines. You are the main manager of your own brain!
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  3. 2) Observe like a scientist would. Use a migraine diary. Track triggers, attack frequency, patterns.
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  5. 3) Be aware that you may have attacks of different severities. Learn how to recognize them, especially how they start.
  6. 4) Do not catastrophize. Take action to find things you can do to live better. Learn relaxation techniques if anxiety is a problem.
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  8. 5) Do not feel guilty. A migraine attack can be disabling and lead to missed days at work or cancelled personal activities. Break the stigma of migraine.
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  10. 6) Avoid the attack-catching up -exhaustion-attack roller-coaster. Learn to manage your energy. Ask for help, delegate, learn to say no, choose your battles, protect your sleep.
  11. 7) Seek medical advice to find an acute treatment that reliably controls the attacks. There are many options and combinations. Avoid narcotics (morphine, codeine).
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  13. 8) Use your acute treatment as soon as the attack begins, unless you have more than 10 days of attacks per month. Delaying treatment lessens your chances of breaking the attack.
  14. 9) If you realize that you need to treat an attack more than 10 days per month, or if migraine has an impact on your everyday life, you may need a preventive treatment.
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  16. 10) If you do use acute treatments on more than 10 days per month, you may also suffer from medication overuse headache. A withdrawal should be considered and discussed with your doctor. 
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Dr. Elizabeth Leroux

Posted by Dundurn Guest on June 16, 2015
Dr. Elizabeth Leroux photo

Dr. Elizabeth Leroux

Dr. Elizabeth Leroux is a neurologist specializing in headache medicine. She directs the Headache and Migraine Clinic at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Montreal, where she works in the management and research of headache symptoms. Convinced that migraine treatment can be improved, she is an active member of the Canadian Headache Society and the founder of Migraine Quebec, a web resource for migraine sufferers.