SEEDS is a little mnemonic for lifestyle management of chronic migraines. It describes five lifestyle changes or behaviors that help to reduce the impact of environmental triggers on migraines.
So what is SEEDS?
S = Sleep 💤
E = Exercise 🏃♀️
E = Eat (both food and drink)🍏💧
D = Diary (or journaling) 📔
S = Stress 🧘
Research has shown that improving these lifestyle behaviors helps to improve chronic migraines!
😴 Sleep disorders are common problems with those who suffer from migraines and headaches. But implementation of sleep habits to improve quality of sleep has been effective in decreasing migraine intensity and frequency.
Basic recommendations for sleep:
Get 7-8 hours per night
Set a bedtime and wake up time
Create an optimal sleep environment
No phones, tablets, laptops
Exercise 🚴 is a great treatment for chronic migraines, and has been shown to be as effective as several preventative medications. But it may not be easy to start exercising for some, as it can be a big trigger!
Most research around exercise as a prophylactic treatment uses cardiovascular exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults get 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise.
Basic recommendations for exercise
Exercise 30 minutes at a moderate intensity 5 days per week
Start slow and gradually build intensity to what is tolerable
Find an activity that you enjoy, it can be as simple as walking.
If you are new to exercising, or exercise is a trigger, start with just 5 minutes of activity at a low intensity. Gradually build up the time and intensity as your body accommodates to the stimulus.
Eating 🍽 , which includes both food and drink, consistently is the most common recommendation. This is meant to keep blood sugar levels through the day.
Many people talk about food triggers, but most of the claims are anecdotal. Aside from alcohol 🍺 and caffeine ☕️ research has been mixed about links between types of foods or diets that cause or prevent headaches.
Basic recommendations for eating
Maintain a regular eating schedule, 3-6 meals per day
Avoid alcohol, and limit caffeine
Avoid fasting for long periods of time
Diary or keeping a journal 📓 of your migraines is important for long term management. By monitoring your specific migraines we can identify patterns that can be useful in developing a plan of care to prevent or treat the migraines.
Keeping a record of your condition can also be useful when implementing new treatments or lifestyle changes to see how those changes affect your condition.
Basic recommendations for keeping a dairy
Keep it simple
Have the diary/journal in a place that is easily accessible
Use an app, a note pad, or calendar
Record if you used medications
Stress 😥 is a common trigger for many types of headaches and migraines. Though it’s usually not the only one. Like most chronic pain pain conditions, our mood can influence our migraines. When we are overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed our migraines can become more frequent, more intense, and last longer.
We can’t prevent all stress in our lives, but we can develop better action plans to control and lower our stress when we know that it is elevating.
Basic recommendations for stress management
Avoid stressors when possible
Find stress outlets, like mediation or walking
Use apps, like Calm or Headspace, for mindfulness & meditation
Do more activities that bring you joy & happiness.
By making changes, even subtle, can have a great impact on the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraines & headaches. Fostering better sleep, having a healthier diet, being more active, and improving stress management can all improve migraines.
Migraine is a neurological condition with genetic influence. While we cannot control all aspects of the disease we can use SEEDS 🌱 to reduce or even eliminate environmental triggers to reduce or prevent migraines.
By implementing changes with SEEDS 🌱 you are taking a more active approach in your condition.
Comment SEEDS or 🌱 below if you would like help creating better lifestyle habits to manage your migraines!