It’s been a stressful season for people with migraine. The Migraine Buddy app examined user-recorded attacks in four countries (U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia) since January 1, and saw “a general increase in migraine attacks triggered by stress and anxiety.” Social isolation, information overload and financial worries were cited as major factors.
Serenity feels far away for all of us right now. But for Stress Awareness Month, you can take a few small steps toward identifying and successfully managing your stress.
- Pay attention to signs of stress in your body. You may think of stress as being “all in your head,” but the body’s stress response is a physical one. Common physical symptoms of stress include muscle tension, fatigue, chest pain, rapid heart rate, stomach upset, low energy, decreased sex drive and insomnia.
- Address stress before it builds up. It’s not just stress that causes migraine, but also the “let-down effect” that occurs after stress is released. In one study, researchers found that relaxation after heightened stress was a significant trigger for migraine attacks. The first six hours of decline in stress were associated with a nearly five-fold increased risk of a migraine attack. If you sense rising tension in your mind and body, act early to reduce your stress.
- Use proven relaxation techniques to head off stress-induced migraines. There are scientifically proven ways to reduce stress, including breathing exercises (rhythmic breathing, deep breathing), guided meditations, and yoga. Popular apps like Calm and Headspace make it easy.
- Consider seeing a mental health professional through telehealth consultations. You don’t have to go to a doctor’s office to get professional help with stress and anxiety. Increasingly, therapists and counselors are available through telemedicine, making it easier — and more affordable— for people to meet with them.
Lastly, if your migraine treatment routine is causing you stress, it may be time to try CEFALY. CEFALY is an FDA-cleared, clinically proven and drug-free treatment for migraine prevention and migraine pain relief. Not only is CEFALY free of the serious side effects associated with many migraine medications, but many CEFALY users report that using the device makes them feel calm and relaxed.