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If you’re a parent living with chronic migraine, you know all too well how challenging it can be to care for your children when you don’t feel well. Chronic migraine is fairly common, affecting about 3% to 5% of the population in the United States.

People with chronic migraine have 15 or more headache days per month for more than three months. On at least eight of these days, the headaches meet the criteria for a migraine. During a migraine episode, people may experience:

  • Intense pain
  • Pain that’s often on one side of the head, but may be on both sides
  • Throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
  • Pain that worsens with physical activity

As a parent, physical activity, loud noises, lack of sleep, and meals eaten on the run are all part of the daily routine. Unfortunately, these can also be migraine triggers. Here are some effective ways to manage chronic migraine while juggling parenting duties. Making some lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes. Planning ahead can also help you be prepared on days when a migraine attack strikes.

Know Your Triggers

Understanding and identifying your migraine triggers is the first step in managing chronic migraines. You may already be aware of certain triggers like specific scents or weather changes, but parenting can introduce new triggers such as loud noises, changes in your sleep schedule, and increased stress.

Practical Tips:

  • Use a migraine tracking app to monitor and identify new triggers.
  • Keep a headache diary noting what you eat, your activities, stress levels, and any other potential triggers.
  • Share this information with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized management plan.

Plan Activities in Advance

Being proactive about planning can help manage parenting duties during a migraine episode. On a non-migraine day, assemble some quiet activities for your kids such as puzzles, coloring books, or crafts. This will keep them entertained without exacerbating your symptoms.

Practical Tips:

  • Create an “activity box” with quiet toys and games and keep it within easy reach for your children.
  • Encourage older children to help younger siblings with these activities.

Pack a Toolkit of Migraine Essentials

Having a toolkit ready with migraine relief essentials can make a significant difference. Tailor the contents of your kit to what best helps you manage your symptoms.

Suggested Toolkit Items:

  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • A water bottle
  • An eye mask
  • An ice pack
  • Earplugs
  • A card with your doctor’s information

Talk with Your Child About Your Chronic Migraine

Children are perceptive and can often sense when their parents are unwell. Having an open, honest conversation with your child about your migraines can help them understand what you’re going through and how they can help.

Practical Tips:

  • Use age-appropriate language to explain your condition.
  • Reassure them that migraines, while painful, are manageable.
  • Teach them ways they can help, like playing quietly or fetching your migraine toolkit.

Get More Zzz’s

Good sleep hygiene is crucial for managing migraines, but parenting can make this challenging. However, there are ways to improve your sleep routine despite the demands of raising children.

Practical Tips:

  • Avoid screens for two hours before bedtime to help your brain wind down.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
  • Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.

Make Some Moves

Regular exercise can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines by boosting levels of beta-endorphins, which are natural pain and stress relievers.

Practical Tips:

  • Aim for 30 to 50 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 3 to 5 days a week.
  • Choose activities that you can enjoy with your kids, like walking, biking, or gardening.
  • If strenuous exercise triggers your migraines, opt for gentle activities like yoga or tai chi.

Reduce Stress

Stress is a well-known migraine trigger. While you can’t eliminate stress entirely, especially as a parent, you can manage how you react to it.

Practical Tips:

  • Practice mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques.
  • Use stress management apps like Headspace or Calm.
  • Make time for activities you enjoy and that help you unwind.

Prioritize Eating Well

Staying hydrated and well-nourished is vital, as dehydration and low blood sugar can trigger migraines. With the busy schedule of a parent, it’s essential to prioritize regular meals and healthy eating.

Practical Tips:

  • Eat balanced meals high in protein and fiber, and low in processed ingredients.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Identify and avoid foods and drinks that trigger your migraines by keeping a headache diary.

Cook Ahead

Preparing and freezing meals in advance can be a lifesaver on days when a migraine strikes. This ensures that you and your family can still have healthy meals without the stress of cooking from scratch.

Practical Tips:

  • Cook in bulk on good days and freeze meals in individual portions.
  • Choose recipes that are easy to reheat and kid-friendly.
  • Involve your children in meal prep to make it a fun and educational activity.

Talk with Your Doctor

Working closely with your healthcare provider is crucial in managing chronic migraine. There are many effective medications and treatments available that can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Practical Tips:

  • Discuss both acute and preventive treatment options with your doctor.
  • Consider newer medications or monthly injections if your current treatment isn’t effective.
  • Follow your treatment plan and keep regular appointments with your healthcare provider.


Living with chronic migraine while parenting is undoubtedly challenging, but with careful planning and lifestyle adjustments, it is possible to manage your symptoms and enjoy quality time with your children. At Comfort Nutrition Services, we understand the importance of a holistic approach to health. Our dietary and nutritional guidance can help you achieve better health outcomes, reducing the impact of chronic migraines on your daily life. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. With the right strategies and support, you can effectively manage your migraines and continue to be the amazing parent you are.

For more personalized advice and support, reach out to Comfort Nutrition Services and let us help you on your path to better health and well-being.

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