Migraine: Trigger points, lifestyle changes and tips to manage chronic attacks | Health

Known to be one of the most common causes of headaches that aren’t completely understood, migraine is a common term which many of us are familiar with but what triggers it, is what we must know as it affects one in seven people worldwide as per the website of World Federation of Neurology and it is the most common brain disease. More than 90% of migraine sufferers are unable to work or function normally during the attack hence, it is important to understand the common risk factors for chronic migraine.

Understanding trigger points for migraine:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rahul Kulkarni, Consultant at Mastishk Clinic in Pune, shared, “Triggers such as obesity, excessive use of ‘over the counter’ medications containing opioids and barbiturates, caffeine overuse, stressful life events, depression, sleep disorders etc. can result in an attack. Several studies found that psychiatric symptoms like depression can be associated with chronic migraine disabilities.”

Effective lifestyle changes for women to reduce migraine triggers:

According to Dr Hrishikesh Kumar, Director Neurology Department at Kolkata’s Institute of Neurosciences, migraine can afflict men, women and children however, it is more common in women than in men. He elaborated, “The changing levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen make cells around a key nerve in the head and connected blood vessels more sensitive to migraine triggers. So, migraine affects three times as many women as it does men, with the increased rate presumably due to this hormonal factors.”

He advised, “There are several lifestyle changes that help in managing migraine attacks like weight loss, following an exercise plan, self – care, controlling stress, proper well-balanced meal plans and hydration. It is also important to visit a specialist neurologist at the earliest if symptoms exist.”

Tips to manage chronic migraine attacks:

Dr Anshu Rohatgi, Consultant at Dr Anshu Rohatgi clinic at SDA Delhi and a professor at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, revealed, “Individuals with chronic migraine experience frequent disabling migraine attacks, preventing them from performing daily activities that significantly affect their quality of life. This results in substantial societal and familial burden. A visit to the doctor can help us figure out the best plan of action for a specific attack, such as medication and rest but there are multiple things that one can do to manage the migraine.”

He suggested, “First and foremost, listen to your doctor and follow as advised. A regular sleep pattern of minimum 8 hours a day, an effective diet as recommended by the doctor, and practicing regular meditation to lower down all your trigger points and avoidance of triggers will definitely help in managing migraine headaches. Keeping a headache diary which lists triggers, time, duration, and severity is the best way to predict a potential migraine attack and will also help your doctor make a better diagnosis.”


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