What to Do When a Migraine Attack Strikes

Debra Riley


Migraine attacks can be debilitating, turning even the simplest tasks into monumental challenges. It’s a condition that affects millions, with symptoms so severe that they can overshadow every aspect of life.

From throbbing headaches to visual disturbances, nausea, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound, the impacts of a migraine far exceed the conventional headache.

Feeling a bit anxious about why you’re getting migraines? Chatting with your doctor about trying an Open MRI could be a solid move. They’re built to be more open and less daunting, especially if tight spaces aren’t your thing and tend to spike your anxiety.

Understanding what to do when a migraine attack strikes is the first line of defense and can significantly improve the quality of life for those who suffer from this condition.

With knowledge and the right strategies, we can better manage these episodes and take steps towards less painful days.

migrane headaches

Consult with a Headache Doctor

Consulting with a headache doctor or neurology specialist is the first step to managing recurrent migraines. These professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in treating migraines, providing diagnostic insights and tailored treatment plans. They use various tools to identify triggers and symptoms, varying significantly between individuals. 

Furthermore, a headache doctor can prescribe preventative medication or acute treatment options to help alleviate symptoms when an attack strikes. You can talk to a headache doctor in Plano, TX, if you’re in the area. With the right professional guidance, sufferers can take a proactive approach to managing their migraines and mitigate their impact on daily life.

Identify and Avoid Triggers

Triggers for migraines can vary among individuals and include certain foods, drinks, smells, hormonal changes, stress, lack of sleep, and weather changes. Keeping a migraine diary can help track potential triggers.

Note patterns before a migraine attack, like specific foods, stress levels, sleep patterns, and other relevant factors.

Over time, these patterns offer valuable insights, enabling you to identify and avoid triggers when possible. This proactive approach gives you some control over your condition, reducing the frequency and severity of attacks.

However, remember that trigger management is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be used alongside professional medical advice and treatment.

Develop a Personalized Treatment Plan 

Every person with migraines is unique, so what helps one may not help another. Working closely with your headache doctor is crucial to creating a personalized treatment plan. This plan should consider medical interventions, lifestyle changes, and various options like prescription medications, relaxation techniques, diet adjustments, and exercise.

In addition to these strategies, it’s also essential to have a plan in place for when an attack strikes. This may include taking prescribed medications at the onset of symptoms or having a quiet and dark space ready to retreat until the episode passes.

Once you’ve figured out what’s setting off your migraines, it’s time to take action. If stress is your primary headache (literally), why not give relaxation tactics like meditation or yoga a shot?

And if snacking on something specific turns out to be the culprit, think about cutting it out of your diet. Just a heads-up, though – chat with your doctor before you make any big food changes. Also, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and keep a water bottle handy to stay well-hydrated.

Having a personalized treatment plan can help you feel more in control during a migraine attack and improve your overall management of the condition.

aromatherapy oils

Use Aromatherapy to Calm Your Mind and Body 

Aromatherapy is a natural and non-invasive way to manage the symptoms of a migraine attack. Different essential oils have been found to help with various symptoms, including lavender for relaxation and peppermint for pain relief.

You can use these oils in several ways, such as inhaling them directly, using them in a diffuser, or adding a few drops to your bathwater.  

Aromatherapy can also help with stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for migraines.

Regular use of essential oils may help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks and promote overall relaxation and well-being. As always, consult a doctor before adding new treatments or supplements to your routine.

Not everyone’s a fan of potent scents since they can sometimes kickstart a migraine. Try out a variety of essential oils in tiny amounts to see what suits you without triggering a headache. If you’re expecting, nursing, or dealing with health issues, it’s best to get a thumbs-up from your healthcare provider before diving into essential oils. It’s all about crafting your own migraine-soothing toolkit.

Practice Stress Management Techniques 

Stress is a significant trigger for migraines, and finding ways to manage it can be crucial in reducing the frequency of attacks. Some effective stress management techniques include mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and spending time in nature.

These practices can help to calm the mind and body, alleviate tension, and promote relaxation. 

Progressive muscle relaxation is another trick you should try. It’s pretty straightforward: tense up each muscle group for a few seconds, then let go. Start with your toes, then work your way up to your calves, thighs, and all the way to your face.

Imagine the stress and tightness just dissolving each time you relax a set of muscles. It’s a fab way to ease the physical tension that might be piling on to your migraine woes.

Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine can also positively impact your overall mental and emotional health, helping you better cope with the challenges of living with migraines.

Find what works best for you and make it a regular part of your self-care routine.


Change Your Diet and Stay Hydrated 

Certain foods and drinks can trigger migraines, so it’s essential to be mindful of your diet. Foods that commonly trigger migraines include cheese, chocolate, processed meats, caffeine, and alcohol. Staying hydrated is also crucial, as dehydration can often cause or exacerbate a migraine attack.

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily and avoid sugary drinks. 

In addition to avoiding trigger foods, incorporating more nutrient-dense whole foods into your diet can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Foods high in magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and omega-3 fatty acids have all benefited migraine sufferers. Consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.

Taking a proactive approach to managing migraines is crucial for improving your quality of life. Work with a headache doctor, identify triggers, develop a personalized treatment plan, use natural remedies, manage stress, and maintain a healthy diet.

With the right support and strategies, you can take control and live a pain-free life.