- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Create a Migraine Survival Kit
Manage Your Migraines With a Survival Kit
Migraines have been striking me regularly for the last few months. Their timing is never good and I feel like I am always scrambling for relief.
I am not certain why — be it stress, allergies, that strong fragrance someone wears to every staff meeting lately, or simply my female hormones behaving badly — but my life is no longer my own. It belongs to my migraines.
Something is making these attacks occur with greater frequency, but until I figure out the latest triggers, I need a plan to ease my pain and perhaps decrease their typical four-day endurance.
If you suffer like I do with unpredictable migraines, you may also feel that there has to be something you can do to prepare or — at least occasionally — prevent migraines from taking control of your life.
I recently decided action must be taken. I decided to once again keep a journal about everything I am eating and doing that might be triggering my migraines. But, I also will create a plan to cope when the attack is inevitable.
Create a Migraine To-Do List
- At the first sign of a migraine coming on, drink at least 16oz. of water. Dehydration tends to creep up on me. I honestly forget to drink water throughout the day — yet I remember my coffee very easily, which actually dehydrates me further.
- Eat small healthy meals and snacks. Eating off schedule (to large, too small and too processed) meals or snacks can all play a role in manifesting a headache. When I get busy, my food quality tends to enter a downward spiral until I find myself guiltily grabbing fries in a drive-through to keep me going until dinner. I must plan ahead and eat for my health and not just to fill the void.
- Put together a survival kit, filled with everything you need to ease pain or decrease the duration of your headache. This is what I will reach for when those inevitable migraines sneak in and take over — and gathering essentials may be too much to take on while in the midst of an attack.
Eating off schedule (to large, too small and too processed) meals or snacks can all play a role in manifesting a headache.
Creating a Migraine Survival Kit
What goes into a migraine survival kit?
This should be a box or basket of everything that brings comfort — or eases pain and duration of the attack — when migraine is at its worst.
What's In Your Kit?
What's the most important thing in your migraine survival kit?
Your Migraine Survival Kit
- Pack a few high-protein snacks. Special K protein bars or nuts are perfect — just avoid anything with a lot of salt, which makes you retain fluids and can elevate blood pressure.
- Include bottled water. This should be what I am drinking anyway, but H2O is my best choice when in the clutches of a migraine.
- Remember your meds. Include prescription migraine medication that can curb an attack and pain relievers like Advil migraine.
- Sunglasses or a sleeping mask to block out light. Bright or flickering lights can make migraines much more intense. I will even wear sunglasses inside places that have florescent lighting — and I don’t care what anyone thinks.
- Purchase stretch bands for exercise. You can find these in any department store where yoga mats are sold. Sitting still for long periods can result in circulation issues that can increase a migraine’s intensity. Muscles can feel like they become part of the headache. These long elastic bands help you gently stretch your muscles and ease tension, and get your blood moving.
Bright or flickering lights can make migraines much more intense. I will even wear sunglasses inside places that have florescent lighting — and I don’t care what anyone thinks.
Understanding the Spoon Theory
- Your summary of past care. If migraines might require medical treatment while on the go, it is important to have your records so the doctor you see can view your full medical history.
- Include several “break and shake” ice packs. Having ice instantly available can really calm a migraine before it enters full attack mode. You can buy packs that you squeeze and shake, and they provide ice on the go instantly. This is ideal if you are in too much pain to want to scrounge in your freezer to make up an ice pack, or you are on the go and need the ice pack for instant relief in the car.
- Earplugs. This is an odd item, but noise is a big issue with migraines, so include a couple pairs of earplugs to drown out sound — just don’t use them while driving!
- A sun hat or scarf. Taking in too much sun can trigger a migraine. I also have lupus, so I must limit my UV exposure in order to prevent the other issues I suffer from. But I have read that people with migraines should limit their time in the sun to a reasonable amount. Wear sunscreen and don’t overheat in order to prevent a headache from striking.
The Bottom Line
You can only do so much in terms of preventative measures, so cut yourself some slack when it comes to worrying about it — but be prepared to deal with one when it happens.
Let go of rigid plans and schedules and keep your survival kit handy for when migraines rule the day.
You can read more about creating a migraine survival kit over on NewLifeOutlook.
Written by Barbara Leech