Halloween is right around the corner. It’s a fun holiday for kids, but it can be downright frightful for migraineurs. Autumn already carries migraine risks of its own, and Halloween adds another element of potential problems for patients. With careful advance planning, however, you can enjoy it and possibly even avoid a migraine attack.
Lights, Candy, and Costumes – Common Halloween Migraine Triggers
Menacing costumes: Hot, stuffy masks, Dracula capes and full body costumes make it difficult to walk and move easily, and heighten the chances of missing a step or taking a fall. Even if you don’t get hurt, the jarring movement could result in a migraine attack.
Creepy scenes: Creating a creepy environment is a top priority for Halloween, but it’s less ideal for migraine sufferers. Artificial smoke contains chemicals made with water and glycol that can cause visual distortion—not to mention the risk of falling when you can’t see where you’re going. Muted, colored or flashing lights used to create tunnels of horror can also be problematic.
Perilous snacks: Many types of food and drink carry risks for migraineurs, and it can almost seem like there’s a conspiracy within Halloween to try and get you to consume the wrong items. Here are common consumables to watch out for:
- Candy that causes your blood sugar to spike and release insulin. This is followed by a dip in blood glucose levels, which is a common migraine trigger.
- Alcohol at Halloween parties, or at stops on the Trick or Treat tour.
- Snacking on foods containing tyramine, such as nuts, chocolate, some cheeses, guacamole, sausages and aged or smoked meats, soy sauce on sushi or miso soup.
Plan Ahead for Potential Halloween Migraines
Some ways you can get ahead of the game are:
Choose your costume carefully: Look for something that will be comfortable for you to wear, and will minimize your chances of falling, overheating, having difficulty seeing, or problems breathing fresh air.
Eat well beforehand: If you aren’t hungry, you’re less likely to be tempted to taste the goodies on offer. Whether it’s an office Halloween party at a restaurant or a visit to your neighbor’s home, eating a meal before you go will enable you to nibble minimally without giving in.
Pack a take-along: Even if you have a full meal before you go, the candies can be tempting. Pack your own take-along of candies to satisfy your sweet tooth. “Safe” items for migraineurs include:
- Crunchy almond bars – almonds are high in magnesium, and will help stop you getting hungry en route.
- Cinnamon sticks, which soothe tension and help your body avoid developing inflammation.
- Peppermint candies, known to help soothe headache pain. Avoid types with high sugar content that can cause your blood glucose to go crazy.
- Dried fruits, such as cherries, cranberries and prunes.
- Sugarless gum, which offers multiple benefits including relief of stress, jaw tension and dry mouth—all while keeping your breath fresh without spiking that precious blood glucose.
BYOB: We all have that one friend who absolutely insists you have a drink when you drop in. Bring your own adult beverage, or even better, non-alcoholic drinks that you know are safe for you to consume.
Southern California Treatment for Pain – Headaches, Migraines, TMJ, and More
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.