Tips for living with migraines

by Melissa West on November 11, 2013

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Do you have any tips for living with migraines?

Tiips-for-living-with-migrainesThis is another one of the most frequently asked questions I get since I have lived with headaches my whole life and chronic migraines since January of 2012.

This was the first yoga class that I created when I first started getting migraines. Here is a yoga class I created specifically for migraines. It is great for relief and prevention.

I highly recommend Teri Robert’s book, Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches by Teri Roberts. This book saved my migraine life.

Most of the classes I recommend for migraines are specialized and are available on my membership site or in my shop:

Yoga classes for Migraine Prevention: 

Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders 2

Upper Back Neck and Shoulders

The Head and Shoulder Class in This Series
(actually the whole series – from the research I’m doing on fascia lately – releasing the hands and feet has a profound effect on the neck)

I have been having fantastic results with releasing fascia and hope to do more training on this to offer even more of this to our members.

Yoga for Posture
Yoga Classes for Acute/Low Grade Migraines

Yoga for Grounding

Yoga for Anxiety (don’t be offended by the title – it is actually another grounding class!)

Waning to the Dark Moon – this is a restorative class

Yoga Feet First

Short Restorative Class

Juicing was also a big part of my recovery and people often ask me about a juice for migraines:

Each person with migraines is unique, which is why I haven’t offered a prescription for migraine juice. When I see “migraine cure” juices on the internet I cringe. Each person with migraines could be triggered by any one of the ingredients in the juice.

So first off you need to go for food sensitivity testing. This will allow you to know what foods to eliminate from your diet so that you don’t juice ingredients that may trigger migraines. I had food sensitivity testing done at the onset of my migraines and I stick to this as closely as I can. It makes a big difference in cutting back on the severity of my migraines. So for example, many migraineurs can’t tolerate citrus. I can however tolerate lemon and lime (but not oranges or grapefruit) so I include lemon and lime all the time in my juices. You may not be able to include them.

Just like with yoga, I find I have to really listen to my own body with juicing. My naturopath wanted me to juice 1 cup of beets a day. I tried to work up to that for a while, but I found it too much for me. It actually left me vomiting. You know your body more than anybody else. Listen to it, just like you do with your yoga practice. Drink your juice, notice how it feels in your body and how your body reacts. (My latest round of food sensitivity testing found that I could no longer tolerate beets, hence the vomiting!)

On a daily basis I usually juice greens, with an apple, sometimes celery, always ginger, and mint if I have it (ginger and mint are fabulous for migraines). I usually include lemon or lime too. However if you suffer from migraines I would include citrus with caution. Vary your greens from day to day. You can’t always juice kale. You need to have bok choy, collards, swiss chard, and spinach too. One kind of greens every day is toxic for your body. This goes for everybody. (Include a variety of ingredients in your juices – my recent food sensitivity testing showed sensitivity to ginger and mint – I over did it.)

Once a migraine has begun I baby myself. I give myself whatever I want. I juice something sweeter usually. More apples. Greens, ginger, lemon or lime, lots of mint.

Another cocktail that is good before dinner is 1 beet, 1 carrot, 1 apple, some greens, ginger and nutmeg over top. This is also good for migraines.

When I have a migraine I don’t practice yoga. I go to bed. I sleep. I might do some restorative yoga if my migraine is low level. I also focus on classes that are grounding if I’ve been dealing with low level migraine for days.

I will list my favourite yoga classes for migraines (acute) and migraine prevention on the membership site in a separate post.

I also have an inversion swing. I hang in that everyday to traction my neck. That has helped a lot too. I talk about my love of hanging upside down here:
And I bought my swing here: Link

I also love my Migra Cap. This is a black ice-hat that you wear to block out light and freeze your head when you have a migraine. It is a fantastic non-medicinal solution to migraines.

I go once a week to a traditional chinese medicine doctor who does tongue and pulse analysis for acupuncture. He also prescribes me herbs. I also have a fantastic migraine doctor who I couldn’t have gotten through this without. I highly recommend him if you are in the Toronto area. Dr. Michael Zitney 

I think that is all, but I am happy to answer more questions if you have any. Comment below 🙂



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