Migraine headaches can be incredibly debilitating, causing intense pain and other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and even changes in your vision and visual field. If you have lived with head pain and migraines, the last thing you want is to experience them in 2023.
Migraine sufferers can experience chronic migraines that happen regularly or episodic migraines that occur every once in a while. Either can be classified as severe types of headache and are often described as “the worst headache” people have ever had.
According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines can be classified as a throbbing headache on one side of the head that typically lasts from four to 72 hours and is accompanied by other symptoms such as light/sound sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances like flashing lights or zigzag lines.
How Common Are Migraines?
Migraines are very common, with the World Health Organization estimating that one in seven people worldwide suffers from them. In the United States, it is estimated that 12 percent of adults experience migraines. Women experience migraines at higher rates than men, with 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men experiencing them.
Children also experience migraines, with the American Migraine Foundation estimating that 3 to 5 percent of children have them.
How to Have Fewer Headaches in the New Year
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting a migraine in the new year. Here are some tips to help you have fewer headaches:
1. Get enough rest: Sleep deprivation is a common factor in migraines, so getting at least seven to eight hours of good sleep every night can help reduce your risk of developing head pain. What role does exhaustion play in the onset of migraines? Tiredness plays a part in the emergence of migraines and other kinds of headaches by making the body more sensitive to pain. An absence of REM sleep also activates heightened levels of the P2X3 protein, which is connected with beginning persistent pain.
2. Avoid triggers: Identify and avoid your migraine triggers, such as certain foods, stress, bright lights and strong smells. Keeping a headache diary can help you identify potential triggers and avoid them. Some patients are also affected by changes in the weather and other environmental factors.
3. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help reduce headache pain.
4. Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of getting headaches. Avoid processed foods, sugar and caffeine as these can trigger headaches in some people. Some food preservatives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), can also contribute to migraines.
5. Reduce stress: Stress is a common trigger for migraines, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. Exercise can also help reduce stress levels. Be aware that stress can contribute to the development of a different type of headache known as tension headaches too.
6. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause headaches, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. We recommend that you try to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
7. Limit caffeine: Caffeine can be a double-edged sword when it comes to headaches. While it can provide temporary relief from headache pain, too much caffeine can also trigger headaches. Try to limit your caffeine intake and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day as this can interfere with sleep, which can cause a domino effect for migraines.
By following these tips, you should be able to reduce your risk of getting migraines in the new year.
Jaw Bone is Connected to the Head Bone
But what if the cause of your migraines is something else? For many people, the cause of their migraines is their jaw. How can your jaw contribute to headaches?
TMJ disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. TMD can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, neck and head. It can also lead to headaches and migraines because of the tension it causes in the muscles that surround the jaw joints, which can cause pain in the head.
If you suspect that your jaw is the cause of your migraines, it’s important to seek treatment from a qualified dentist or orthodontist. A dentist can assess your jaw and determine if there are any misalignments or other issues that could be causing your headaches.
If your jaw is out of alignment, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment such as braces or Invisalign to correct the issue. Orthodontic treatment can help realign the jaw and reduce tension in the muscles, which can help reduce headaches and migraines.
Treatment for jaw-related migraines may include wearing a custom-made appliance, such as a night guard, to help reduce tension in the jaw muscles. Other treatments may include physical therapy, massage or even surgery.
Other Causes of Headache
Other causes of headaches include sinus infections, nasal congestion, allergies and even eye strain. If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine the cause. Your doctor may recommend medications or lifestyle changes to help reduce the frequency of your headaches.
By addressing the underlying cause of your migraines, you can reduce your risk of getting headaches in 2023. Call us today to schedule a consultation to talk about your daily headaches and common symptoms of migraines and find out what treatment options we offer.
We treat many patients with headache and migraine disorders. We’d love to talk to you.