Energy Levels Migraine Maintenance

Published 01/11/11


Sleep, exercise and good nutrition are crucial in helping you maintain your energy levels while living with migraine disease.


Hi. My name is Teri Robert. I'm a Migraineur, a Migraine Educator, and Patient Advocate. Today, I'd like to talk to you about maintaining your energy levels, which is important to anyone with any pain issue, including migraine or other headache disorders. One thing to never forget is that sleep is absolutely essential. If you have migraines, it's especially important to get up and go to bed at the same time every day. That includes weekends and holidays. Doing otherwise can bring on more migraines. So keep your schedule as regular as possible. Sleep quality is also an issue. Many of us think our sleep is good quality, restorative, when, in actuality, it's not. So if you find yourself waking up often, or you wake up with migraines, or you wake up feeling unrefreshed, or get especially sleepy during the afternoon; those are good indications that your sleep quality isn't very good. Another thing to keep in mind is, no matter how much sleep you've had, if you're a person who needs extra rest or gets very, very tired easily, reserve your energy. If you know you're going to do something that's going to take your energy low and require a lot of energy, get some rest in advance and give yourself some recovery time afterward. That doesn't necessarily mean take naps, if that's going to disrupt your sleep, but just be good to yourself, be aware of how much energy you need, and how much energy you are going to be expending. Nutrition is also essential to your energy balance and maintaining your energy. Junk foods, foods with sugars, foods that are especially hard in carbohydrates can take your energy high for a brief time, but then you're going to crash pretty hard too. So if you follow balanced nutrition, that's probably going to be your best bet for maintaining your energy levels. If you have health issues that restrict you dietarily, it's a good idea to ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian who can talk to you about good foods for energy levels, as well as overall health. Because nutrition, as well as sleep, and as well as maintaining your energy reserves, is crucial. Then there's the issue of regular exercise. If you have a pain condition and someone tells you regular exercise is going to help, I can sense you rolling your eyes, because, with too many pain conditions, those conditions prevent us from exercising. Just remember that exercise doesn't have to be all out, full force exercise. It doesn't have to mean running a marathon. It doesn't have to mean going outside in the heat and jogging. Even little things can be exercise. Gentle stretches in the morning, especially in the shower, can be great exercise. When you do your stretches in a hot shower, your muscles are more relaxed and those stretches are less likely to pull or hurt. Use housework a little bit, as exercise. Make your bed, strip it, make it again. That's exercise. If you're doing your laundry, put your laundry basket on the floor, bend over for each piece of laundry that you fold. That's exercise. So remember that, although exercise is going to be pointed out to us over and over again, there are different forms of exercise and, virtually, anyone can find something they can do. Another issue, if you're a migraineur, you may find that exercise actually triggers migraines or causes exercise induced headaches. These headaches can be pretty dramatic, but talk to your doctor because, for many of these, there are things you can do to avoid them in the first place. Staying hydrated, warming up, or, in some cases, even taking a simple analgesic or NSAID medication before you exercise can help keep them from triggering those migraines. If you have an illness, whether it's migraine or something else, that makes these issues especially challenging for you, talk to your doctor. Don't hesitate. That's part of why you go to your doctor. Your doctor should be willing to listen to these issues. And if you need to be going on to a nutritionist, an exercise therapist, or a sleep specialist who can help you maintain these healthy habits, you're going to find your energy can go a lot farther. So, to recap just a bit, watch your sleep. Not only the amount, but the quality. If you're going to do something that takes a lot of your energy, keep some energy in reserve. Don't go all out until you're totally down. Good nutrition. Some foods are great sources of energy. Make sure you choose energy foods that aren't too high in sugars and can be more trouble than they're worth. And that's how I see it as a Migraine Educator and Patient Advocate, but I would recommend reaching out to your doctor for more details or go to Google and type in 'coping with chronic pain' for more information. Thank you for watching.

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