When you love someone who has a migraine it can be one of the hardest things in the world seeing them suffer and feeling unable to do anything to help them. You can’t cure their pain, as much as you’d like to be able to, and while you can sympathise with them and offer a shoulder to cry on, you wish you could do more.
Well while it’s certainly the case that you can’t cure their pain (and if you can then please do share your secret technique because there are a lot of people who would like to know!) there are some things you can do to help.
The top thing you can do to help someone with migraines is to ask them “how can I help?” You could guess, but often there’s a specific thing you could do that they’d like you to help with if you asked. This might be going to the supermarket for them, doing the school run, making dinner for them, getting them a cool flannel. There are any number of things that could be helpful – the key is to ask.
Something which might also help a migraine sufferer which they might not have thought of themselves is to exchange any fluorescent lightbulbs for ones which give out a less harsh light and, if possible, to add a dimmer switch to any lights. Even if you don’t live with the migraine sufferer in your life and they’ve already made these changes to their own lights, if you’re a close friend and they often visit you at your home this change will be appreciated.
One thing you can do which might not be so obvious is to cut back on any aerosols or perfumes you use. A major trigger for some migraine sufferers is strong smells, but it’s not a trigger all that many people know about. Reducing the strong scents really does help.
Another thing that would be good turned down is volume. It might sound obvious but it’s surprising how easily it can be forgotten. During an attack any kind of noise is painful, but very loud music, TVs, or other sources can help to trigger a migraine. If you can reduce them, that would be great.
Keeping on the reducing theme for a minute more, after a migraine attack often comes what’s known as a migraine hangover, and this can leave sufferers feeling drowsy and ill (to put it mildly!). If you can slow down to their pace and let them know that you don’t expect them to feel instantly better and raring to go then that’s a big help.
Something which you should make sure NOT to do is to stop asking them to join in with any plans you’ve made. Migraine sufferers do on occasion have to cancel at the last minute at those times when a migraine attack hits, but they hate doing it, missing out, and letting people down. Please do keep inviting them to do things with you and checking to see if there’s anything you can do to make your plans work for them. Finally, if they have to back out at the last minute, don’t make it a big deal of it.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help. If you have any ideas that other migraine sufferer supporters might find helpful then please do share them below.