How To Live With Migraines: Dealing With Them In College

Chances are that you have heard a person or two say that they have migraines, but if you have never had one, then you won’t really understand what they are. A migraine is pure pain. The science behind a migraine is that the specific chemistry inside of your brain is changing. This is not normal at all; however, 6% of males in the USA and 18% of women have this condition. The side effects on the brain vary from person to person, but the most common side effects are sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, seeing balls of light, seeing auras, feeling pressure in head, blurred vision and dizziness.

1. Understand that the person with the Migraine can’t control it.

Migraines are something that is a part of some people’s life, there isn’t anything anyone can do about it as there is no cure. There are pain medications that one can take to reduce the pain of the head.

2. Try and identify the triggers you have.

Not all people have specific triggers for their migraines, yet many migraines come for different triggers. Some common triggers include chocolate, weather, hormones, caffeine, stress and sleep.

3. Keep a headache journal!

In this Journal you should include severity of pain, the location of pain, treatments when it started when it ended, what treatment did you take and what you were doing before you had your headache. This Journal will help you find triggers and help your doctor understand what you’re going through. If your not able to write it all down when you have a migraine; you can just write the start time and come back and fill it in when you feel better. There are apps for phones that can do this as well, and from there you can easily share them with your doctor.

4. If you have migraines, try and function with them, and if your roommate has them, empathize with their pain.

Just because you suffer from migraines, does not give you the right to be a jerk to others. I have had migraines and unintentionally been a jerk to friends and family. Try your best to get to a room where you can test or avoid others. If your roommate is someone that suffers from migraines, try to be understanding; they are experiencing intense pain, and they probably will not feel like doing anything.

5. If you have migraines, talk with your teachers, and friends in your class, to get notes from them if you have to miss a class.

Ideally, you don’t want to miss any classes, but with migraines, it’s unlikely that that can be avoided. It is important to tell your teachers beforehand that you have this condition, and if you miss then your sick. Also, talk to friends or upperclassmen to get notes or explain things to you.


Murphy’s law: if something can go wrong, then it will.

Murphy’s law of migraines: if there is a test this week, expect a migraine.

If you know that there is an exam or a paper coming up then chances are that you will have to handle a migraine. My advice is to be fully ready for the test a whole day in advance and have the paper finished two days in advance.

7. Exercise and eat correctly

Being active and a proper diet can decrease the chances of migraines,while retina foods can trigger your migraines. Common ones include caffeine, chocolate and coffee. (Besides it helps work off the freshman 15)

8. Be sure to keep mild pain relief on you.

Keep a SMALL bottle of medicine of your choice (i.e. Advil, Excedrin, Aleve, Tylenol) in case you, or your friend, gets a headache during class, exam or a lab. Before you take them, you should read the side of the bottle carefully, be aware of basic drug facts and never take more than recommended without talking to a doctor.

9. Talk to your doctor

Some people need more than just over the counter medicine if your migraines are interrupting your day to day schedule. This might seem obvious; however, many people do not talk to their doctor, and the doctor can really help you out. This is who you should share your Journal with (see step 3).