Headaches and Migraines Specialist Q & A
Headaches and migraines can take their toll on our bodies and minds. That’s why at Columbia Clinic Urgent Care we offer migraine and headache treatments so you can get back to your normal self. Request an appointment online or visit our clinic today in Portland, OR!
Headaches and migraines are the most common neurological condition in the world, affecting the lives of billions of people. While most headaches are short-lasting and minor, more severe ones can be completely debilitating. Headaches often accompany migraines and are an aspect of the condition. Typically, migraines last a few hours to a few days.
Why do I keep getting headaches and migraines?
There are several reasons why you might be getting repeated headaches and migraines.
Diet — There are specific headache triggers in food. Two of the biggest things you should avoid are monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitric oxide. For example, Chinese food, aged cheeses, red wine, ramen noodles and chocolate all contain MSG or nitric oxide. It is recommended to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable.
Caffeine — Especially if you suffer from migraines, too much caffeine could make your headaches worse. However, many people claim that their morning cup of coffee can help their migraines. If it really does help, then great! But remember to consume caffeine in moderation as you don’t want to consume too much of it.
Supplements — Many studies indicate that three specific dietary supplements may be able to help you with your headache and migraine problem: Magnesium (400 mg to 500 mg), Vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10.
Sleep — Especially when it comes to headaches, sleep is incredibly important for your overall health. Having an underlying or unrecognized sleep disorder could have a significant effect on your headaches or the recurrence of headaches.
Noise & Light — A big trigger for many people who suffer from migraines is noise and light. If you are more inclined to migraines, it is best to avoid sitting in front of a bright screen with loud sounds, which could trigger a headache or migraine.
Over-the-Counter Medicines — If you use too many over-the-counter painkillers, you may experience more headaches if you have a history of migraines. A general guideline is to not use over-the-counter medicines more than twice a week to help your headaches.
Schedule an appointment with a neurologist if you experience any of the below because of your headache:
- Continuous headache for more than a couple days
- Headache/migraines tend to come on suddenly
- Worsened by straining
- Experience headaches/migraines early in the morning
- Vision changes
- If you experienced a seizure, alongside your headaches
What helps with migraines and headaches?
If you are experiencing a headache or migraine, try practicing these following:
Rest in a quiet, dark room — Many people with migraines experience sensitivity to sound and light. If you make your bedroom quiet and dark, you may be able to fall asleep. While not every headache responds to sleep, the chemicals released in your brain during sleep can significantly ease your pain. Additionally, if you are sensitive to sounds, blocking them out could help, as well.
Apply a hot or cold compress — Place the compress on the back of your neck or across your forehead. Some people prefer a cold compress, as ice can have a numbing effect. Others may prefer a warm compress, as heat can help relax tense muscles. Taking a warm bath or shower may also have the same effects.
Try mindful meditation — Take time to sit and be present in the moment. Concentrate on your breathing. This type of mindful meditation can sometimes ease physical pain, especially when you set your intention for pain-relief. Researchers have found that mindfulness has the ability to produce effects comparable to medication in people with chronic migraine and medication overuse.
Stay hydrated — Dehydration is a very common migraine trigger, and replenishing fluids can restore your body’s balance of electrolytes and water. If you have trouble drinking enough water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to give your water more flavour. This will also provide you with more electrolytes. It is also important to limit caffeine, which can be dehydrating in large amounts.
Exercise — Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking a brisk walk can help to ease your migraine pain because aerobic exercise promotes blood flow and reduces stress. Exercise gets your body’s natural feel-good hormones flowing. If you’re looking for a low-impact exercise option, try yoga or tai chi.
What side of your head hurts when you have a migraine?
While both sides of your head can be affected by a migraine, usually only one side is affected at a time.
If you or someone you know is experiencing headaches and migraines, come to Columbia Clinic Urgent Care! Our professional staff are experienced in treating headaches and migraines and can help you find relief today! To speak with one of our specialists, contact our office today. Visit us online or simply call us to book an appointment.