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As a disabled person, I have a love/hate relationship with traveling because as much as I hate the process of traveling, I also want to see my family and sometimes you have to go someplace new to do that. Traveling can be stressful for people who live with migraines or chronic pain in general because new places often I have different triggers and they’re worse than being on vacation and struggling with pain. There is nothing I can say to you that will most definitely guarantee that you will not get a migraine or have a chronic pain flare while you are on vacation because some triggers like the weather you cannot control but you can plan ahead to stay on top of pain so it’s less likely that something serious will strike. My migraine pain is as controlled as I could get it but sometimes when I am traveling things change because in new states there can be different triggers that I wouldn’t have in my hometown. I am going on vacation in a few days and one of the biggest stresses that I and many other migraineurs have when traveling is having an attack that ruins your entire vacation. In this post, I am going to talk about what I am doing while on vacation to prevent or manage attacks if they were to happen.
Don’t skip meals– When you are on a road trip sometimes meals are not as much of a priority as it would be at home because you may not want to stop to get there faster or spend money but I cannot stress enough how important it is that you eat. Medication can help prevent migraines but your medication is not going to be as effective if you are making poor lifestyle choices like skipping meals. Before I had chronic headaches and migraine I skipped an occasional meal but now I am that person who will remind you that it’s time for lunch Nutrition is important for migraine prevention because when you let your blood sugar drop too low it can be triggering and you will be wishing you at that sandwich! It’s not only important that you eat for migraine prevention but also you want to feed your body the right kinds of food because poor nutrition can be just as bad as not eating at all! Everyone ones had different food triggers and what is a trigger for my pain may not be the same for your best friend. Learn what types of foods are a trigger for you and to the best of your ability limit or cut them out completely for less pain. I can’t eat a lot of dairy because not only does it interact with my stoma but it can be a migraine trigger. I still will eat some dairy but you won’t find me going for my third bowl of ice cream because I am more negatively impacted by it and although I may enjoy it at that moment I will regret it later!
Drink lot of water- If you have been following my blog you probably have heard me talk about drinking water for migraine prevention more but I can’t stress enough how a little water can be the difference between a high or low pain day. During long road-trip sometimes people don’t drink a lot of fluids to avoid having to stop to pee but if you are prone to headaches and migraines limiting your water is not always the best idea because it can trigger pain. I am not suggesting that you chug a gallon of water every hour you are on the road because that will most definitely make it so you have to pee every twenty minutes but you shouldn’t deprive yourself of water. People sometimes get headaches or migraines that were avoidable because they are making one big mistake and that is not giving your body fluids!
Bring your electrolytes for less pain- Many migraineurs swear by electrolytes because a little more hydration can act as a preventative or give you less pain when you are struggling. I started drinking Gatorade everyday to help reduce my pain and although I still struggle with headaches I don’t get as many migraines so I’lll take that as a win! If there is one time that you do not want to leave your Gatorade at home it’s when you are on vacation because there is nothing worse than being on vacation and struggling with pain but not having access to your electrolytes because you left them at home!
Rest when you can- When you live with migraines or chronic pain in general sometimes pain can make it hard to fall asleep and you may find yourself sleeping way less than you should be. You can’t always control how much sleep you are getting but you can try to get on a similar sleeping schedule to what you would have at home so it doesn’t totally mess you up. If you are having a bad pain day I cannot stress enough how important it is to slow down and listen to your body because that is what will help you get better. Movement can be good for preventing migraine pain but for it to work you have to move your body before you have a migraine because if you wait until after it’s too late and will do more harm than good. Self-care is so important for your recovery because the last thing you want to do on a high pain day is go shopping! If you are struggling set some time to rest and take care of yourself because the more you do on high pain days the worse your pain will be and the longer it will take to recover. If you don’t focus on self-care on high pain days you may find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with pain your whole trip when it could have taken hours.
Bring a portable fan- The heat of summer can be a problem for a lot of migraineurs and although you can’t control the weather you can get portable fans or cooling towels for those days when you are outside a lot to keep yourself cool.
Keep track of your caffeine intake- I have said over and over again that drinking pots of coffee is not the cure for migraine but sometimes your caffeine intake is the problem. Some migraineurs have reported that caffeine helps them prevent migraine attacks but others would disagree and would say that it’s triggering and not to drink it. If you have a headache or migraine and haven’t had your daily morning coffee you might just have a caffeine headache and coffee will make it go away but if you already had three cups and are still struggling drinking more is probably contributing to the problem. When you are on vacation sometimes you may go to a lot of coffee shops and drink more coffee or eat more sweets than you normally would because after all, you are on vacation but if you are sensitive to caffeine doubling your caffeine consumption might not be the best choice. If you suddenly are struggling with pain seriously think about how much coffee you consumed that day because you will never have less pain if you continually are consuming things that are triggers. Coffee helps me manage migraine but I have a threshold and if I am drinking much more than two cups it can be problematic!
Bring some ginger or peppermint oil- Peppermint oil does not cure migraine but it can help prevent headaches and give you some relief if pain is high. If you often feel nauseous because of migraine like I do sometimes it might be a good idea to bring some ginger because it can help with nausea and sometimes prevents vomiting which can happen during or before a migraine strikes.
Vacations can be fun but traveling with migraine pain can be stressful because new cities have different triggers that you might not be prepared for. Migraine pain will still be present on vacation because I have symptoms every single day and my goal isn’t to get my pain to a zero because I will never achieve that but I am going to listen to my body for less pain. Migraines and chronic pain, in general, takes so much from your life and you can’t just forget about it when your out of town because you will be reminded if you do more than your body can handle and it’s not going to be good. If you are going on vacation with migraines are chronic pain, in general, it can be frustrating to have to accept the reality that you will be in pain the whole time but stressing about it is not going to make anything better because some things in life are not in your control and it’s not going to change if you stress about it. Have you struggled with migraine pain while traveling and how do you get relief when you are on vacation?