Unfortunately for many, migraines are a fact of life. If you suffer from migraines or know someone who does, then you know how debilitating they can be. Beyond the intense head pain, many migraine sufferers also contend with light and sound sensitivity, nausea, impaired vision, and more. Given the intensity of the experience, many people with migraines may be cautious about traveling. As a migraine sufferer myself, I can tell you how frustrating it can be to feel limited by something outside your control. In this post, I want to share a few tips and tricks I use when traveling with migraines.
** Always consult a doctor concerning your health or changes to your habits, medicine, etc. I am not a medical professional.
Prepare a Small Emergency Kit for Travel
There are few situations more dreadful than finding yourself developing a migraine mid-flight. You’re cramped in those tiny seats, surrounded by chatty people (and children). You don’t control the lighting situation, the smells, or nearly anything else and you may have hours to go before landing. The best thing you can do is come prepared.
I always pack a small emergency kit in my carry on or purse for any trip (planes, trains, and automobiles!). What do I bring?
My Emergency Kit for Traveling With Migraines
- An over the counter medicine like Advil or Excedrin – This is for situations that are more manageable and not full migraines.
- A dose of a prescription rescue medication – This is the real deal for when you have your worst migraines. These are prescribed by your neurologist. Don’t be caught without it because you packed in your checked luggage!
- Eye mask – Take control of the lighting situation
- Migraine earplugs – I swear by these for pressure changes (including weather-related).
- Cooling migraine patches – To provide a extra little comfort
- Stomach soothing ginger candies – My migraines always upset my stomach. Sometimes these can help.
- A big bottle of water – Dehydration is can be a huge factor for many
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Plan with Migraines in Mind
I strongly believe in not letting my migraines control my life – but that doesn’t mean I pretend they don’t exist. This is especially important whenever I plan a new trip. Think about your triggers when you plan. Are your migraines triggered by drastic weather changes? Perhaps particular foods. Stress, lack of sleep, menstrual cycles – all of these can be migraine triggers.
As you plan a trip keep your triggers in mind and work to avoid or negate them. You can’t control the weather but you use tools like the migraine earplugs, which come with a mobile phone app which will alert you days before a pressure change, to help you prepare. You can plan to dine out at places that won’t expose you to trigger foods. If stress is a trigger don’t wait until the last minute to pack! Play to your strengths to help you have a healthy trip.
Build-in Some Anti-Migraine Activities
Another tip that might help control migraines while traveling is building some time in your schedule for activities that might give you an advantage. For example, I always try to make time for a yoga session or even just light stretching. For me, a crooked neck from sleeping mid-flight can put me over the edge. An activity like yoga can easily be built into a fun vacation activity – yoga on the beach anyone?
Some other ideas you can try:
- Treat yourself to a nice spa treatment
- Use a walking tour to see a new city and get some endorphins from exercise
- Make sure you’re getting your 8 hours of sleep – it’s vacation after all!
What tricks do you use when traveling with migraines? Let me know! Don’t let migraines hold you back – check out some of my own adventures like Iceland or Namibia!