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Archive for August 26th, 2009

I posted a couple of months ago about my search for–an appreciation of–a new doctor for my migraines.  Enter Dr. M.

To pick up where I left off in my last post on the topic, Dr. M gave me three treatment options:

1. Leave everything the way it was, including the two preventative medications I was taking daily and the migraine abortive medication I took when I did get headaches.

2. Begin searching (via trial and error) for migraine preventative mediation(s) that would be more effective at reducing the frequency of my migraines.

3. Wean off all preventive medications and begin lifestyle changes designed to minimize my migraines naturally.

I decided to give my body the opportunity to do this on its own and chose option #3.

Dr. M’s instructions were as follows:

1. Exercise (aerobic) 30 minutes daily.

2. Set a sleep routine and stick to it.  Determine the RIGHT amount of sleep for me (between 7-9 hours/night).  Keep the same bedtime every night and rise-time every morning, even on the weekends.

3. Eat small, frequent meals in order to keep my blood sugar level more constant.

4. Keep hydrated – drink plenty of water daily.

5. Learn–and practice–some form of stress management (meditation, reading before bedtime, etc.).

6. Read the book Headache 1-2-3.

To date, I have been better at keeping some of these guidelines than others.  #6 hasn’t yet happened, though I’ve read other headache/migraine prevention books.  #1 has been touch and go.  I bought an elliptical, but find it uncomfortable to use.  (There’s definitely a quality difference between the ones at the gym and the one sitting in my living room!)  I’ve been very good at #’s 3 and 4 (I eat every 3 hours and make a conscious effort to drink a set amount of water or Gatorade throughout the day).  I’m working on making a habit of #5 and have found that giving myself a nighttime routine makes my evening into a de-stressing time (as it’s designed to do). 

For me, #2 has proved to be the key to preventing migraines.  I CANNOT emphasize enough how important sleep regulation can be for migraine prevention.  If I don’t get 8 hours of sleep one night or stay up later than 11pm, I’m almost guaranteed to develop a migraine the next day. 

I’m happy to say that my migraines are managed equally well through these lifestyle modifications as they were through chemistry.  Meanwhile, I feel better, too!

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