Leena Thomas, RPh. at Yurek Pharmacy author of Summer and Migraines

Can a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for outdoor activities, trigger a migraine? Unfortunately, for some of us, the answer is “yes!”

Migraine is a headache that is accompanied by severe throbbing or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often followed by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so bad that it interferes with your daily activities. It is better to get treatment early when the pain is milder.

Many migraine patients cite dehydration as a trigger. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more liquid than it takes in, and can be exacerbated by hot weather, sunlight, scents, physical exercise, drinking alcohol or caffeine, overuse of painkillers or eating salty foods.

Migraine triggers can be different for everyone, but some are common especially when it comes to diet. Understanding migraine triggers will help you to manage the symptoms.

If you suffer from migraines, remember SEEDS (Sleep, Exercise, Eat, Diary, Stress).

Sleep: Try to get 7–8 hours of sleep a night. Practise sleep hygiene (the bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep) as the migraine brain likes routine.

Exercise: Start very slowly and do whatever activity you can tolerate — when you do NOT have a migraine — as exercising can be very challenging otherwise.

Eat: Eat three meals a day at regular times and do not skip meals. Keep track of foods that trigger your migraine. It is better to reduce simple carbohydrates (anything that contains sugar like pop, donuts, etc.) and processed foods and increase protein intake. Stay hydrated with 7–8 glasses of water and limit your caffeine intake.

Diary: Try to keep a Headache Diary to track your migraine pattern.  Available apps are, Migraine Buddy, Canadian Migraine Tracker.

Stress: A trigger for many chronic migraine patients, stress can be managed using tools such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), breathing exercises, and psychotherapy.

Have a great summer and mind your SEEDS!

For details, please visit https://www.migrainesociety.ca/treatment-guide

By: Leena Thomas, RPh.