Those who suffer from migraine will know too well that it is much more than just a headache. It can strike anywhere and any time, often without warning. Symptoms may include a crippling pain in the head, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, dizziness and nausea, sometimes even vomiting and fainting. They can be difficult to control and can have a hugely debilitating effect on your life.
1. Identify your trigger foods
A number of foods are known to provoke headaches. The most common culprits are dairy products, chocolate, refined sugar, foods with MSG, gluten and caffeinated drinks. Everyone is different – the only way to get to the bottom of what foods are triggering your headaches is to eliminate all possible trigger foods and then slowly introduce them one by one to see how your body reacts. Here at Inner Me however, we do NOT advocate cutting out entire food groups – many of the aforementioned ‘trigger’ foods are actually highly nutritious! Keep a food diary to log how each food affects your body, but do not think that by cutting out gluten and dairy (just because your best friend is intolerant!) is going to work for you. Listen to your body, identify your triggers and then consume them in moderate, controlled amounts.
2. Drink more water
Not drinking enough water is one of the most common causes of headaches. Some experts believe that headaches can be caused by the blood vessels in your head becoming narrow in an attempt to regulate your body’s fluid levels. Dehydration caused by alcohol consumption plays a major role in hangover headaches too Try to drink four to six glasses of the good stuff a day.
3. Move more
Move your body as much as possible! This is especially important for those who work in an office and barely move out of their seat. Getting your blood flowing can help prevent headaches and increase your productivity. We love office yoga sessions at Inner Me - not only do these classes calm mind, body and soul, but they're the perfect way to release stress caused by muscle tension (especially if you're hunched over your desk glaring into that computer screen all day!). Stretches will help prevent neck and shoulder pain that can cause a blockage of blood supply to your head and create a nagging headache. What’s more, our emotions have as much power over us as our physical ailments. If you’re stressed out on a day-to-day basis, meditation and breathing exercises explored in yoga are very beneficial.
4. Be good to your gut
If you haven’t ever encountered poor digestive health or slow bowel movements – you are in the minority. More and more people are experiencing bloating, symptoms of IBS and poor digestion. Constipation in particular can be caused by stress, and can be stressful itself. Also if you tend to skip meals due to the bloating or nausea you feel because of your constipation, your blood sugar levels could be low – which can trigger a headache. Try taking a probiotic supplement or eat probiotic rich foods to optimise absorption of nutrients in your gut.
5. Boost your vitamin uptake
Vitamin deficiency symptoms can range from physical ailments to emotional issues – and can include headaches, or headache-inducing stress. A common cause of anemia, for example, is lack of iron, B12 and vitamin C and one of the symptoms of this is a daily headache. Problems of this sort may be tied to diet. For instance, vegetarians and vegans must make sure that they consume B12 from other sources than meat, and the diary intolerant must consume calcium, vitamin D and C from other sources too.