Managing Migraines Over the Holidays

I’ve been getting pretty serious migraines since I was in grade school. They start with an aura that includes my face and hands going numb, blind spots, and nausea. Then I get a headache that lasts for about 2 days. It’s a pretty serious type of vascular headache that causes throbbing pain on one side of the head. 17% of women suffer from migraines and 6% of men get them. That’s a lot of parents in pain. If you don’t get migraines, all I ask for is your pity. For those of you who are in the migraine club, have you ever noticed they get worse over the holidays?

You’re probably thinking, doy. Stress, “cheer,” and family togetherness might give anyone a headache. And there’s not much you can do about that. But over the years I’ve noticed a few things that make my migraines worse over the holidays. You can’t subvert headache-inducing family dysfunction, but you can darn well stay away from aged cheeses!

Let’s eliminate as many risk factors as we can over the holidays for a happier and hopefully headache-free Christmas. Or you could take 2 percocet and call me in the morning, if that’s your thing. Still, it’s Christmas. Try not to Lohan it up too much, pal.

  • Keep Sports Drinks in the Fridge 1 of 5
    Keep Sports Drinks in the Fridge
    I recently heard about a migraine cure that actually does take the edge off. You take your preferred pain killer (Motrin, Excedrin Migraine) with a whole bottle of Gator Ade. I've tried it and it does work much better than plain water.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Stay Away From Stinky Cheese 2 of 5
    Stay Away From Stinky Cheese
    Whether it's a cheese platter or a cheese ball, abstain or eat in moderation. Aged cheeses cause migraines, yo. Sometimes I do a cost-benefit analysis and decide to scarf the cheese anyway, but that's me.
    Photo Credit: Morguefile
  • Easy on the Beef Stick 3 of 5
    Easy on the Beef Stick
    Beef stick is a huge part of the holidays [that's what she said] because we're kind of a Hickory Farms family. Sadly, the nitrates in my beloved summer sausage and any cured meat can trigger migraines. There is a direct correlation here, for me. Eat at your own risk.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Less Wine 4 of 5
    Less Wine
    I don't drink, but I know that wine causes migraines so go easy. Maybe only half a glass? Or maybe, for you, drinking less wine would mean half a box? I don't know; I don't judge; I just want you to get fewer migraines, you cute little lush.
    Photo Credit: Morguefile
  • Sleep Regularly 5 of 5
    Sleep Regularly
    This is a tricky one because not getting enough sleep can cause migraines but—guess what? Getting too much sleep can also cause them. So stick to your regular schedule instead of sleeping in over your Christmas vacation. I know it's a bummer but so is being bed-ridden for a 48-hour-skull- crusher. Live strong.
    Photo Credit: iStock

Read more of my writing at Babble and check out my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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