Mindfulness– there is good evidence that mindfulness can be useful in the pain phase of migraine as well as helping to manage anxiety and depression. Guided apps can be used like ‘Calm’ or ‘Breathing Zone’.
Exercise– exercise can be good for anxiety and depression and can help migraine. Exercise has been shown to be more beneficial in mild to moderate anxiety and depression than antidepressants, but it can also be beneficial for migraine management too. Light cardio exercise kicks in endorphins, improves the neurochemical balance in your brain and prevents a stress ‘let down’ headache after a busy day. Ensure you have drunk enough water and eaten at least an hour before to avoid triggering an attack.
Expressive writing– there is good evidence that expressive writing can be used for chronic pain. On three consecutive days a week sit down and write whatever comes into your head for 30 minutes and then throw it away without reading it.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)– if migraine is causing anxiety or depression, CBT can provide methods of coping with both the migraine symptoms and the symptoms of concurrent mental health issues.
Sleep– good quality and sufficient quantity of sleep are vital for maintaining good mental health. Sleep routine is particularly important for migraine- shifts of up to an hour either way can trigger attacks. Avoiding using electronic equipment, at least an hour before bed can help with sleep quality.
Caffeine– too much caffeine can trigger migraine and also worsens any anxiety symptoms people have. If migraine and anxiety are problems, think about going caffeine free.
Thanks to funds from The National Lottery Community Fund over the next 12 months we will be looking at improving migraine and mental health.