Migraine Awareness Week 6-12 September

BCA Member Marc Sanders shares his advice for migraines

“Living with regular migraines can be hugely debilitating and in the UK alone it is estimated that 6million people suffer with them.[1] The symptoms associated with a migraine vary hugely, which can make them more challenging to diagnose – for one person a migraine could cause vomiting and dizziness, for another it could impact their vision. Whilst the symptoms vary, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache that most of us will have experienced. Migraines are much more intense and can cause severe pain. Understanding the difference will help with the steps that can be taken to manage and pre-empt migraines.

“As a chiropractor, we often see patients who present with symptoms of a migraine before they see their GP. Prolonged tension in the back, shoulders, neck and jaw can easily spark head pain, but some simple steps can be taken to lower your risk of developing symptoms:

  1. Exercising regularly, at least three times a week at moderate intensity can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines for some people. Try to avoid exercise before bedtime
  2. Sleep plays a huge role in how we feel, so try to aim for eight hours regularly, at the same time each night, and avoid screens for about an hour before you hit the pillow. Cutting out caffeinated drinks in the afternoon may also help with your quality of sleep
  3. Taking regular breaks if you work in front of a screen is also essential. If you suffer with migraines it’s important to let your HR manager know, as they can help bring in steps to support you
  4. I also recommend keeping a migraine diary to help you keep track of when you suffer a migraine and your symptoms, which could help you identify your triggers and build steps to manage them. The Migraine Trust has some great tips on this

“Alongside these tips there are many effective therapies which chiropractors and other health professionals can offer in isolation, or alongside pharmacological therapies that are offered through a GP. The most important thing is finding a form of treatment that works for you.”

[1] https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta260/documents/migraine-chronic-botulinum-toxin-type-a-final-scope2#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20there,2%E2%80%9310%25%20in%20men.