The holidays are a time of celebration and spending quality time with family and loved ones. For people with migraines, however, the holidays are also fraught with triggers that can cause incapacitating head pain and other symptoms.
The holidays are known to increase the frequency and severity of migraines. Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid the festivities if you suffer with migraines. Knowing the things that trigger migraines, especially during the holidays, can help you avoid the onset of headache pain.
Men and women in Tarzana, California, can rely on Samuel I. Fink, MD, to provide the best internal medicine services, including help with managing migraine and headache pain. Here, we’ve put together some useful information on watching out for migraine triggers so you can enjoy the holidays.
Hit the sack
With late nights and early mornings, a disrupted sleep schedule is common during the holidays. Whether you’re traveling to visit relatives or hosting holiday parties that continue late into the evening, people often disregard their need for quality sleep during the holidays.
The problem is that lack of sleep is a major migraine trigger. It’s important for people with migraines to make it a priority to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, and the holidays are no exception. Even though this can be difficult to maintain while juggling the added pressures and busy schedules of the holidays, it can make a significant difference.
Steer clear of trigger foods
The holidays are synonymous with indulging, but nibbling on trigger foods can send you reeling with a migraine. Before you fill up your plate with holiday delectables, keep red-flag foods in mind and leave them off your plate.
Each person is different, but foods that tend to trigger migraines include:
- Cured meats
- Dried fruits
- Pickled foods
- Aged cheeses
- Alcoholic beverages
Some people can tolerate certain types of alcohol, but red wine and beer are most commonly reported as causing problems for people with migraines.
Keep stress in check
Many people with migraines can attest to the fact that stress not only can trigger an attack, but also can make their migraines more intense. In fact, four out of five people with migraines report stress as a trigger. Without a doubt, the holidays can be stressful. To avoid this scenario, it's critical to find ways to manage holiday stress.
This is different for everyone, but it may mean that you avoid taking on too much responsibility and enlist the help of loved ones. It also helps to balance holiday stress with relaxing activities each day, such as listening to soothing music, reading before bed, or performing breathing exercises.
Checking in with your emotions and mental well-being every day also aids in stress management. Combining stress-reduction techniques with adequate sleep is an excellent way to avoid a holiday migraine and enjoy the entire season.
The best way to ensure that your season is free of triggers is to plan as much as possible. Allow yourself time to rest and recharge between obligations. Make shopping lists, to-do lists, and grocery lists for important meals, in addition to your schedule so you’re not scrambling or stressed last-minute.
Of course, having an effective treatment to deal with an attack as quickly as possible is an important part of being prepared. Have your medication with you in case you get a migraine during the holidays.
The holidays aren’t the only time when migraine control is important. If you need help managing your migraines, Dr. Fink can help you determine the best approach based on your specific needs. To get started, schedule a visit with Dr. Fink at our Tarzana office by calling or requesting an appointment online today.