Deep breathing and water can eliminate the pain associated with a migraine headache—without drugs. Magnesium & green tea aid long-term prevention.
The first time I had a migraine, I had no idea what was happening. Suddenly there was a bright jagged line in my field of vision. If I closed my eyes, it was still there. And it kept getting larger!
Later, I would find out that migraine occurs in the brain, rather than eyes. And it’s temporary, rather than some kind of long-term threat to my vision. (Whew!) But man, can it ever be painful.
Breathing and water can eliminate the pain associated with migraines, and magnesium can help to prevent them. Other than that, you need to know how to avoid the triggers and how to give yourself some first aid.
Avoiding the Triggers
The main trigger for me is bright lights, and cold. If I have a bright light in my eyes, especially if I have been a consuming excessive amounts of caffeine in recent days, that’s when a migraine tends to start.
A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way, here. Once you’ve had a migraine, it’s hard to forget the feeling. When a migraine is coming on, and you recognize the feeling, take preventative action immediately.
For me, the feeling I get is around the corners of the eyes. So the first step is get your eyes out of the bright light that is most likely triggering the reaction. Then take as many of the First Aid remedies as you need to start feeling good again.
The first step is to remove yourself from bright lights. And stop caffeinating! Lie down, preferably in a warm, darkened room, and relax.
Relaxation is a big step, because inner muscle tension plays a big part in creating a migraine. So try to forget your worries to eliminate anxiety, stop caffeine for a while, relax, and get warm.
The next step is water. Water is needed for cellular metabolism—the processes that generate energy. Simple dehydration also contributes to migraines. It’s a side-effect of too much caffeine. So getting a glass of water into your system is a good idea.
Perhaps the most important step is deep breathing. The Figure-8 Energy Breath I describe in my Bench Yoga book is highly recommended, but any kind of deep breathing will do.
The importance of deep breathing cannot be minimized. The pain that accompanies a migraine headache comes from a lack of oxygen to the brain. Deep breathing eliminates that pain.
As you relax, the jagged lights eventually go away. When they do, continue relaxing as you resume your normal activities. Be alert for a resurgence of the condition, and resume the first aid treatment at the first sign.
Long Term Prevention
Migraines tend to afflict coffee drinkers, because coffee lacks the calming ingredients found in tea. So it produces the kind of inner muscle tension that contributes to migraines.
One simple prevention step, then, is to switch to green tea for a while.
In addition to having reduced levels of caffeine, green tea contains theanine—a particularly calming compound that prevents the “jitters”.
To get coffee’s high caffeine levels without the jitters, it helps to take green tea with each cup of coffee. (My eternal thanks to the Quora contributor who told how he got through college with that system.) I like taking a green tea extract capsule for that purpose, but I’ve also been to known to put a tea bag in a cup of coffee as it is brewing.
It can also help to take a magnesium supplement with each cup of coffee. The muscles need magnesium in order to relax, and magnesium is depleted by coffee and other acidic drinks, as the body uses it to buffer the acidity.
In essence, then, a migraine headache is akin to an internal brain cramp where tiny internal muscles, once tensed, don’t relax enough to allow blood to flow normally.
That’s why I take one capsule green tea extract and one of magnesium with each cup of coffee!
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