Managing Migraines and Headaches with Seniors

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Having to deal with a headache can put a damper on your day and can make engaging in even the most mundane aspects of life a little more challenging, but having a migraine can take those feelings to an entirely new level that can be frustrating and debilitating. Migraines can be brought on by a variety of factors and can manifest through numerous symptoms ranging from uncomfortable to enormously painful.

What Characterizes a Migraine?

A migraine is often described as an amplified or more severe version of a headache, and the affect that a migraine has upon a person’s ability to function as they normally would is also significantly greater. Migraines come in the form of severe pain that often feels like throbbing or pounding. This pain can be centralized in the area behind the eyes, shift from one side of the head to the other, or be felt in all areas of the head at once. Migraines are often also accompanied by dizziness, troubles with vision, nausea, and heightened levels of sensitivity to things such as light, sound, and smell.

Seniors and Migraines

People who get migraines generally experience their first one prior to the age of 40, and the frequency and intensity of migraines usually tends to decrease as we grow older. It is, therefore, important that seniors consult with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing migraines in older age (particularly after the age of 65). Migraines for seniors can be indicative of greater overarching health concerns that are manifesting through the symptoms of migraines, such as brain injury or stroke.

Avoiding Migraines

Migraines can be difficult to deal with once they have begun, so it is best to implement strategies that aim to prevent the onset of migraines. In an attempt to avoid experiencing migraines, seniors should consider the following:

  • Minimize Stress
  • Stay Hydrated
  • Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
  • Identify and Avoid Foods that Seem to Trigger Migraines
  • Avoid Strong or Offensive Smells

The factors that contribute to the onset of a migraine can differ for each individual, and some of these triggers are completely out of our control, such as the weather. Keeping track of the common features that are at play each time a migraine occurs can help seniors to identify what contributes to their migraines so that they can work to manage or avoid those triggers.

Managing a Migraine

When a migraine does occur, there are some practices that can help to manage or alleviate the severity of some of the symptoms that seniors may face:

  • Rest
  • Hydrate
  • Stay in a Dark or Dimly Setting
  • Keep Away from Screens
  • Avoid Overstimulation (Bright Lights, Loud Noises, etc)
  • Avoid Strong Tastes or Smells

Seniors in Ottawa should make an appointment to consult with a doctor if the symptoms of migraine persist or occur on a relatively frequent basis so as to explore treatment options and rule out or identify other more pervasive causes.

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