Raising a child is a beautiful yet challenging experience. Now, imagine adding a chronic, throbbing headache to the daily parenting routine. While it may seem easier to reach for the medicine cabinet, learning how to manage a migraine before it arises can help keep the focus on the family, rather than pain. While there is no cure-all solution for migraine, there are some tips to help manage the headache while carrying on as normally as possible.
Parenting is full of surprises, including exposure to new and numerous headache triggers at home. Headache can be triggered by everything from certain scents to weather and loud noises. Additionally, migraine can be hypersensitive to changes in diet, sleep or excessive stress levels, all of which parents are exposed to daily. Pinpointing the trigger can prevent future pain and ease the stress of parenting. Using a tracking app can organize your body’s triggers so you know what to avoid.
Children are great at keeping their parents busy. Planning activities ahead of time for those days with a crippling migraine can make parenting easier, while helping keep the focus on managing migraine. Prepared activities can be as simple as putting together puzzles, craft bags or coloring books. Additionally, keep a bag or box of migraine essentials ready. While every headache is managed differently, the basics of the kit should contain medication or natural remedies, water bottles, an ice pack, eye mask, earplugs and a card with the doctor’s information on it. Another way to plan ahead is to freeze meals ahead of time so they are quick and easy to serve on migraine days.
Kids are curious, so they will likely want to know why mom or dad is acting differently. On a non-headache day, sit the children down and talk to them about headache and migraine. Explain to them how it feels and what helps manage the discomfort. Since kids tend to align their reactions with their parent’s, make sure to explain it effectively without mentioning fears or over describing the pain. Try to avoid scaring them and offer them ways they can help during a migraine or headache.
As an additional resource, migraine and headache sufferers can visit the National Headache Foundation’s healthcare provider finder to connect with a qualified headache healthcare provider.
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