Living Well with Migraine in the New Year
At age 34 while on a tropical beach vacation in Mexico, my life as I knew it changed forever.
One minute I was laughing with friends enjoying dinner and the next felt like I was on a tugboat in the middle of the ocean rocking back and forth, crashing against the hard waves. Little did I know I’d spend the next 2.5 years of my life in extreme pain and dizziness isolated to my bed in the dark away from the lights, sounds, and smells of the outside world.
Migraine is the second most disabling disease on the planet and the first most disabling disease among young women (1). If you live with migraine, you already know how incredibly disruptive this condition can be to your life and if you quite fortunately do not, it’s extremely likely you know someone whose life it is disrupting as this condition affects an astounding 1 in 10 people globally (2).
What is Migraine?
Let’s be clear in that migraine is not your typical New Year’s Day hangover headache. Migraine is a complex neurological disease of the brain accompanied by dozens of debilitating, full-body symptoms including moderate to severe pulsating, throbbing, or pounding head pain; nausea/vomiting; dizziness/vertigo; light/sound/smell sensitivity; visual disturbances called aura like flashes of light, shapes, blind spots, and even loss of vision; slurred or garbled speech; stiff neck; ear ringing; anxiety and panic; and dozens more. These symptoms can last a few hours to a few days and for some weeks, months or even years.
After waiting nine long months to see a migraine specialist only to be exclusively offered pharmaceutical-based options left me feeling frustrated. I knew more had to be done.
Taking only one approach to health offers limited effects. If you desire to successfully live well with migraine or any chronic health condition in the New Year, approaching wellness from multiple angles is key.
Living with intention means saying yes to things that align with the betterment of yourself and no to things that don’t. We live in a world where we’re always expected to say yes; it’s unsustainable and a recipe for burnout and dis-ease. Try starting each day visualizing how you want the day to unfold and begin to eliminate habits you become aware of that are no longer serving you.
Take Control of Your Diet
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is comprised of highly processed, highly palatable, nutrient deficient, inflammatory foods. Opting for whole foods such as pasture-raised animal-based products like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and eggs, and ideally organic fruits and vegetables are foundational for overall health and well-being. As you’ve probably heard many times before, we quite literally are what we eat.
Detox Your Environment
Many conventional home and beauty products are contaminated with harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals that even at very low doses have implications on our hormonal health (3). Swapping out your current arsenal of products for cleaner options, switching from plastic to glass food-storage containers, and filtering your air and drinking water all can help support your body’s healthy production of hormones.
Spend Time in Nature
Modern-day society has us more disconnected from nature than ever before. The average American spends 93% of their life inside (4) and vitamin D deficiencies are on the rise globally. Avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality and while supplementing with Vitamin D is a great secondary option, we should ideally be getting our vitamin D from the sunlight. Science has shown that spending 120 minutes or more outdoors each week is associated with improved health and well-being (5).
Sarah Arndt is a Certified Health Coach and Director of Lifestyle Wellness at Mind+ Neurology. To learn more about Mind+ visit mindplusclinic.com or call 888-585-7975.
Mind+ Neurology, a specialized headache and migraine clinic, offers walk-in Urgent Care for immediate rescue from severe migraine attacks. The newly built clinic is located at 12200 Corporate Parkway, Suite 400, Mequon, WI 53092. As an independent practice, no referral is needed. Mind+ Neurology is accepting new patients. Go to mindplusclinic.com to schedule an appointment today!