What is a let down migraine?
Today’s post is titled “what is a let down migraine,” but the original title was “why I should just stay stressed out forever.”
While we’ve all heard that stress can trigger migraines– and it is true– did you know that de-stressing can cause migraines too? That’s right! In what amounts to a cruel twist of fate, your chance of developing a migraine actually goes up five times in the first six hours of reduced stress! So those migraines you get on the first day of vacation, or after a particularly hard work week? Yeah, that might just be the result of you becoming less stressed.
In other news, migraines are mean.
For unknown reasons, I actually have a headache pretty much 24/7. Although that’s pretty much the definition of #theworst, I also have the ability to develop debilitating migraines on top of this headache. Since I absolutely hate this, I take great care to track and avoid my migraine triggers. I caught the usual ones: weather changes, hormone changes, clenching my jaw for extended periods of time, gluten cross-contamination. However, I kept waiting for a stress-triggered migraine….and it never came.
Then, I started to notice something weird. Sure, I got tension headaches and jaw pain (from clenching my teeth) while I was stressed. But those migraines that knocked me flat on my back? Those were actually happening once the stress was gone.
My first thought was “what’s up with that,” so I did some heavy duty Googling. I didn’t have to go very deep into the archives of the internet to learn about let down migraines! From people with chronic migraine to people with episodic migraine, to your annoying coworker who had a migraine once and now “totally gets it” when you start having an aura for the fourth day in a row, people were describing the same thing I was experiencing.
A migraine once the stress has dissipated sounds counter-intuitive. The cause of let down migraines appears to be unknown, but the “let down effect” has been noticed in many chronic conditions as well. (Asthma is a big one, along with autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s.)
Now, I’m not a doctor, and I can’t diagnose or treat you. But I’ve been dealing with these pesky migraines for a while, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to prevent them (usually.)
1. Take regular breaks
Working nonstop takes its toll on your body. Forcing yourself to stop and rest can help mitigate that.
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is a factor in many headaches. We all know that person who forgets to eat or drink when they’re stressing about something. Don’t be that person.
3. Eat regularly
Skipping meals may mean you can get more done now, but it’s setting you up for trouble later. It will catch up with you!
4. Get some sleep
Increased stress may mean less sleep. If that sounds like your life, then you need to schedule in some sleep! Sleep deprivation is a big trigger for migraines, and causes lots of long term effects.
5. Keep up with your medicine.
When I get stressed, lots of things fall to the wayside. Set up a schedule for your medications so you won’t forget them.
These tips won’t get rid of all your let down migraines. After all, I still get them! However, taking care of your basic needs can help prevent the worst of the migraine, and it’ll make you feel less guilty for skipping out on basic self-care.
When I posted a photo of myself stuck in bed with a let down migraine, it got a lot of interaction. It turns out lots of my friends and readers have these types of migraines, but had no idea what they were called! So let’s talk:
Do you get let down migraines? Had you ever heard of them before this post?