Getting Help with a Migraine

No one enjoys getting a headache, but a migraine is even worse. It's a headache filled to the brim with tension, one that can drastically affect your performance at work.

The most immediate symptom of a migraine is throbbing pain, often around the top or on the sides of your head. Other symptoms that sometimes occur include nausea and vomiting, muscle fatigue, loss of appetite, and sensitivity to light. In some cases, this can include blurred vision and seeing an "aura" or wavy light. The most likely time for a migraine to occur is around the middle of the day.

It's not entirely clear what causes migraines in the first place, but research has shown a number of common triggers that can precede the onset of this severe headache. The most common triggers are periods of stress, extreme hunger, and fatigue. Environmental factors like poor indoor lighting and changes in the weather have also been cited as contributions to developing a migraine.

To treat or prevent a migraine, take the following steps:

1. Protect yourself from the heat. A sudden change in weather can lead to a migraine, so it's best that you take precautions like wearing sunglasses on a bright day, avoiding the midday sun, and keeping yourself hydrated.

2. Pace yourself when you exercise. A strenuous workout can sometimes overwhelm the body and result in a stress trigger for a migraine. If you pace yourself and take quick breaks, you'll give your body a chance to recover and keep your head clear.

3. Look at your workplace habits. Do you find yourself slouching in your chair, staring too long at a monitor, or taking in too much caffeine? Any and all of these can be a headache trigger over time. Keep yourself healthy by reexamining and adjusting your work habits during the day. Focus on eating better and taking time to stretch your legs periodically.

4. Manage your stress. It's true that stress is a fact of modern life, but it's also true that it doesn't have to control your life. Pace yourself at work when you're able. Set aside some time for something to break the tension in your body, like a massage or meditation.

5. Take medication or seek medical help. If you're prone to frequent migraines and other headaches, there are plenty of over-the-counter drugs you can take. Pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are usually effective. However, you should take them in moderation and only when you experience the symptoms of a migraine. Talk to your doctor about your condition and what medication is best for you.

Image by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr