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Managing Migraines: Steps to Ease the Pain

What are Migraines

Migraines are a neurological disease that can cause debilitating throbbing pain and leave you in bed for hours or even days. They can be triggered by movement, light, sound, etc. and cause symptoms of pain, tiredness, numbness, irritability, temporary vision loss, and more. A warning symptom known as an aura can occur before or with the headache, for some people. An aura can include visual disturbances including flashes of light or blind spots. It may also cause tingling on one side of the face, arm, or leg, and difficulty speaking

To determine the difference between a migraine and a headache, click here.

How are Migraines diagnosed

A neurologist will diagnose a person with migraines based on family and medical history, symptoms, physical and neurological examination. To rule out other diagnosis, an MRI or CT scan may be done if symptoms become more severe.


Medication has been proven to effectively treat and prevent migraines. However, it is also important to take care of yourself and learn to manage the pain when a migraine happens. Medication alongside lifestyle changes that promote overall good health and can be the best way to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines.

Some steps you can take to decrease the pain are:

Find a calm environment

  • When you feel a migraine coming, try to step away from whatever you’re doing and take a break.

Sleep well

  • Migraines can stop you from falling asleep or wake you up at night. However, migraines can be triggered by lack of sleep.

Eat healthy and balanced food

  • Your eating habits can impact your migraines. Try to be consistent with your meals and avoid trigger foods.


  • Your body releases chemicals that block pain signals to your brain and can alleviate anxiety and depression when you exercise. Maintaining a healthy diet may provide additional benefits in managing migraines. Try to find a form of exercise you enjoy and ease into it, as vigorous exercise could trigger a migraine.

Manage stress

  • Stress and migraines are often related. Avoiding stress is impossible but finding ways to keep it under control can help manage your migraines. Try to find ways to manage your time and take a break whenever possible. Staying positive in your thinking, enjoying yourself, and making SMART goals can be key in managing your stress.

Keep a migraine diary

  • A migraine dairy is helpful in determining what triggers your migraines. Keep track of when the migraine starts, what you were doing when it started, how long it lasted, and what provided relief. Gradually exposing yourself to triggers and learning how to cope with them is an effective approach to managing migraines.

Dealing with migraines is a daily battle and can be very difficult, but healthy lifestyle choices may help. Reaching out to loved ones for support when feeling anxious or depressed can help you take control of the pain and live a full life.


About the Author

Trevena (She/Her)

Hello! This is my first year as a Healthy U volunteer and the last year of my BSc Microbiology major with a minor in Biology. I’m very excited to build more connections in the university community, as well as expanding my knowledge on various health topics.

If I’m not studying, you can usually find me watching a new TV series, painting, or hanging out with friends!

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