If migraines are an agonizing part of your life, you may have no choice but to pack them up with you when you go traveling. Migraines are hard to prevent and treat, but don’t let them suck the fun out of your vacation! While there is no migraine cure, here are some tips to help make your next vacation less of a headache.
First, know thy triggers.
Migraines are recurring headaches that cause moderate to severe pain, which usually feels like throbbing on one side of the head. Many things can trigger a migraine, including:
- Stress and anxiety
- Tobacco, caffeine, and caffeine withdrawal
- Too much or not enough sleep
- Loud sounds and strong odors
- Medications and overusing medications for migraines
- Certain foods
- Bright or flashing lights
In the weeks leading up to your trip, take extra note of what triggers your pain. Then, take a look at your itinerary to evaluate how likely you’ll encounter a trigger. You may then wish to edit your itinerary or plan a way around a trigger.
Pack your medicine.
If you take medication for your migraine, such as Imitrex® (sumatriptan) make sure to pack them! However, do note that many countries have very different drug laws, so do some research on the relevant laws, especially if you’re bringing pain medication.
Don’t rely on buying medication when you get to your destination. Language barriers and different product standards can make it dangerous to buy medication abroad. If you want to take advantage of cheaper drug prices outside the U.S., however, you can order from licensed pharmacies in countries like Canada through referral sites such as Canada Pharmacy Depot.
Pack for the weather.
In addition to medication, make sure you have essentials close to you, especially water. According to the American Migraine Foundation, dehydration is a major migraine trigger, and if you’re at the beach and playing in the sun, it can be a real possibility.
Speaking of the sun, bright light is another trigger. So if you’re heading to a tropical destination, make sure you pack a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a bandana you can soak in water and then wrap around your head or neck.
Talk to your doctor about preventive medicine.
If migraines occur on your trip, you may be tempted to take more as-needed pain-relieving drugs as possible. Unfortunately, this kind of medication overuse can cause migraines.
While it’s tempting to cram your schedule full of activities, do plan a few hours of downtime here and there to give your body a much-needed rest. Remember, too much or too little sleep is another trigger for migraines, so try to keep a healthy, regular sleep schedule.
Prepare and plan.
Travel is stressful. No matter how much fun you’re having, your body is under a lot of stress. After all, you’re putting it through environments it’s not familiar with, and you’re probably doing the more physical activity than you usually do.
Stress is a trigger for many types of headache, not just migraine. If you’re prone to stress-related headaches, prepare as much as possible before your trip to minimize on-the-trip stress. This means figuring out in advance how to get from point A to point B, sorting out reservations, and having a rough itinerary. Don’t be afraid to delegate planning duties to your travel buddies either!
Enjoy your trip!
Overall, try to enjoy your trip. You deserve it! By savoring your time away from the usual stresses of daily life, hopefully, you’ll gain some much-needed relief from your migraines.
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