Everyone knows that cramming isn’t an ideal way to study. But, unfortunately, sometimes that’s the best we can do because between classes, clubs, and other campus life, it’s hard to juggle it all.
However, with those often-unavoidable late-night study sessions during midterm season, it isn’t just a common culprit for not doing great on your tests – it also could actually be the cause for a migraine, medical professional and Excedrin Head Pain expert, Dr. Seng explains is “more than just a headache.”
“Migraine attacks are like your brain shouting, “Stop!” and then doing whatever it can to make you go into a dark quiet room and rest,” said Dr. Seng. “You have a headache, yes, but you also have extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and touch. You feel nauseated and may throw up. You might get visual or language disruptions. It’s almost like having a bad, sudden flu that comes on unexpectedly.”
So, what can we do exactly to prevent getting a migraine and manage them during those times we have to cram for midterms? Dr. Seng is here to help!
Is there an environment that is best to study in to avoid migraines best you can?
Dr. Seng: “Yes! From a migraine perspective, the best environment for studying is one that reduces the strain on your eyes and muscles and provides an opportunity to get up and move around periodically. A well-lit room with no glaring lights can make it easy to read without eye strain—consider places that have natural light or a softer light source. Sitting while looking at a computer or reading for long periods of time can lead to neck and back strain, so it is important to schedule periodic breaks for light movement. When studying, set an alarm for every twenty minutes to do some neck and back stretches and light yoga for a few minutes before getting back to the books.”
Are there any preventative measures that can be done to minimize a migraine?
Dr. Seng: “Definitely. We can help prevent migraine with medication, injections, or devices that you use routinely to reduce how often you experience migraine attacks. Lifestyle changes can also reduce migraine attack frequency. The most common triggers are related to inconsistent schedules (which can be very common for college students, with late nights studying).
When you have a migraine, it is important to stay consistent with your lifestyle and schedule: when you rise from bed and go to bed, when you eat, and when you drink water. Be prepared in advance, and consider carrying your own snacks and water bottle to maintain a consistent schedule. Try to go to sleep and rise at the same time every day (even if it’s the weekend), and carry your acute migraine medication like Excedrin Migraine with you in case you feel a migraine coming on.
To sum it up: Take care of yourself: protect your sleep, eat routine and healthy meals, stay hydrated, and don’t overdo it on caffeine and alcohol. Sometimes it’s helpful to take breaks during the day and practice deep breathing or muscle stretches.”
What is the difference between Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine?
Dr. Seng: “Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine have the same ingredients, but they have different recommended usage that is supported by clinical trials. Excedrin Extra Strength is indicated for the temporary relief of headaches and other minor aches and pains, whereas Excedrin Migraine is indicated for the treatment of migraines—the labels on the bottles can help you determine which product is best for your particular type of pain. Visit Excedrin.com for more info.”
What is an action plan you can take if you don’t have access to Excedrin Migraine when a migraine occurs?
Dr. Seng: “Unfortunately, this happens from time to time. Taking acute medication, like Excedrin Migraine, really is the best strategy for treating a migraine attack while the head pain is still mild. But if you don’t have immediate access to acute medication when the migraine hits, the next best option is to remove yourself from any triggering situations.
For example, you may want to stop typing at your desk which could be contributing to stress, muscle tension, and eye strain. Many people find that being in a quiet, dark room can help reduce the pain associated with sensitivity to light and sound. Lastly, drinking water, having a snack, and practicing relaxation or meditation techniques can also be helpful at the moment.”
How should we comfort someone with migraines?
Dr. Seng: “Acknowledging a sufferer’s pain goes a long way. Especially if they went years without a proper diagnosis! On average, it takes six years to get a formal diagnosis from the first onset of migraine, which can be very frustrating for sufferers. Saying “I am sorry you are having migraine, that must be hard,” can be a validating statement to hear. Avoid comparing pain, or other types of headache, to migraine and instead offer empathy and understanding, as invisible illnesses like chronic pain conditions can be very isolating. Just do your best to be a good friend by being understanding of their painful experience.”
Now that you know a bit more about migraine and how cramming for midterms can be the cause of them, you will hopefully prioritize your health (and TBH, your study schedule too!) so you can better manage them with Excedrin Migraine, or avoid them altogether using Dr. Seng’s tips and tricks!
You can also join the Excedrin #MYgraine movement, which encourages sufferers to share their own experience with migraines through visual expression and ignite a much-needed conversation to help close the ‘Migraine Diagnosis Gap.’ Do you want to share your #MYgraine expressions to help others?! Then head to TikTok and Instagram and help raise awareness and make an impact for first-time migraine sufferers, so no one has to suffer alone.
Visit excedrin.com/mygraine to learn more about Excedrin and migraines.
*Disclosure: The information in this Article may be useful but does not constitute medical advice. This Article is not used to make diagnoses, prescribe medicine or provide treatment, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are familiar with your individual medical needs.
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