Did you know there are 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK! It’s the most common and disabling neurological disorder in the UK. It affects 1 in 7 people making it more prevalent than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined (www.migrainetrust.org).
But what is migraine, according to Professor Peter Goadsby, professor in neurology at Kings Collect Hospital “Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”
We also know that approximately 40% of migraine sufferers can have vestibular symptoms as part of their migraine causing problems with balance, visual disturbances or episodes of dizziness. You may also only have symptoms of dizziness or decreased balance with your migraine, not everyone has accompanying head pain.
It’s good to know that it can be treated, we know that the best treatment for vestibular migraine involve a combination of medication, life-style modifications and vestibular rehabilitation delivered by a specialist physiotherapist. It is usually better for vestibular migraine patients to begin their treatment with medication and life-style changes prior to starting vestibular rehabilitation. This enables them to better tolerate the exercises without experiencing exacerbations of their symptoms. The exercises are usually progressed very slowly in people to ensure we don’t exacerbate the migraine symptoms. Exercises might involve visual exercises to decrease visual sensitivity (computer screens, busy shopping centers, travelling etc), balance exercises to help you feel steadier, core strengthening exercises and we may assess your neck. Over activity and tension in the neck is often a common problem for people who suffer from migraines and can further exacerbate their symptoms.
So how can you begin the process of improving your symptoms? Often making changes to your lifestyle can lead to a huge improvement in your symptoms, whilst they can seem initially difficult to do once you see an improvement in your symptoms you’ll be very glad you made the change. You could have a go at the following advice:
Keep a diary – This can help in the diagnosis of your migraine and help you to recognise any triggers or warning signs. It will also help you assess if any changes you make are helping, the migraine trust have some good diary layouts you can print out and use – https://www.migrainetrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FS05aMigraineDiaries.pdf
Exercise – Research shows that exercise can be beneficial in decreasing the frequency of attacks, if you don’t normally exercise make sure you start gradually, perhaps with a walk every day.
Sleep – There is lots of research showing how profoundly sleep can impact on migraine, too much and too little sleep can both be issues and for some people it is the sole trigger. Shift work and jet lag can impact massively. Try the following tips to see if they help:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
- Spend some time outside every day, natural light helps fine tune our body clocks
- Sleep in an environment that is restful
- Do any exercises before your evening meal and not before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
- If you are wide awake in the night don’t stay in bed
Diet – Stay well hydrated and eat at regular intervals though out the day
Stress – Stress can be another big trigger to migraines, although it is easier said then done, looking at ways to manage stress can have a big impact on symptoms.
If you want to read more on the topic of vestibular migraine then follow the links below:
If you think we may be able to help you in the management of your migraine, then please call us on 01306 888171 or email [email protected]