migraine hacks

13 migraine hacks to help deal with an attack

Did you know that migraine is the most common neurological condition in the world, affecting about 12 – 15% of people? If you’re unfortunate enough to be prone to attacks, then here’s 13 migraine hacks

Migraine is a complex neurological condition which is classified by the World Health Organisation as the 7th most disabling disease worldwide and the 4th for women. But if you’ve never experienced a migraine, what is it? And why do I need migraine hacks?
Migraine generally features a one-sided throbbing headache which is episodic and lasts hours or even days with total freedom between attacks. The headache is normally worsened by movement or routine physical activity. Migraine has been likened to a power cut, as the whole body seems to shut down until the attack is over. It can be incredibly debilitating, especially if you’re not expecting an attack. So what can you do if a migraine hits while you’re on holiday?

13 migraine hacks

  1. Bright, direct sunlight is a common trigger. Wearing sunglasses at all times, including while driving can help 
  2. Dehydration leads to tiredness and fatigue, which can prompt an attack. Carry fluids at all times, including indoors, as many buildings are without air-conditioning
  3. Holiday planning and travelling itself can be stressful so give yourself plenty of time, and that includes not leaving suitcase packing to the last minute
  4. Keep to a planned daily routine with regular meals and not too many late nights
  5. Pace yourself. Whether you’re sightseeing or attending a work dinner, opt out if you feel you need to rest instead
  6. Migraine attacks can strike at any time. Keep your medication to hand – a clear bag makes it easier to find and don’t forget a copy of any prescriptions as backup 
  7. Schedule breaks on long drives, make sure to have water and food if unsure of stops along the route
  8. If traveling by bus / train, book a seat in advance so you’re not traveling backwards or sitting at the back of a bus with bad ventilation or diesel fumes
  9. Keep an eye out for quiet areas of the airport to wait in. Many airports have sleep areas / meditation or prayer rooms that can provide a calm, quiet environment  
  10. Pack ear plugs / noise reducing headphones as well as an eye pillow, eye mask and medication / ginger sweets / drinks for nausea
  11. Pack cool packs to use on your neck if an attack starts.  
  12. It can be hard to avoid perfumed beauty halls and not so pleasant smells on a flight. If smells are a trigger, an essential oil such as peppermint or eucalyptus can be help to block them out. Plus, they can double up as relief for sore neck muscles during an attack 
  13. Drink plenty of water in the 24 hour period prior to travel day so you’re well hydrated in advance of the trip and avoid alcohol

Dr Eddie O’ Sullivan, GP and Clinical Director of the Headache/Migraine Clinic, Cork University Hospital. Hecommends that people keep a detailed headache diary so their migraine, and triggers, can be accurately identified for effective treatment. Migraine diaries are available through the Migraine Association of Ireland or by downloading the free Migraine Buddy app 

Read more: 6 hacks for a stress free morning

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