Understanding the Link and What You Can Do
Are you noticing an overlap between panic attacks and migraines? Not only are you recovering from a recent panic attack, but now you’ve got a headache or migraine. It can feel as though you can’t win. In this article, we explore the connection between panic attacks and migraines, as well as how you can treat them and live a better life, like using ZAVZPRET, a nasal spray that helps with the treatment of migraines in adults.
The Connection Between Anxiety Disorders & Migraines
Surprisingly, “panic migraines” aren’t entirely uncommon. Various research and literature indicate that many individuals experience migraines or headache anxiety, specifically following a panic attack.
Many anxiety disorders involve high levels of stress, low serotonin, lack of sleep and high muscle tension. In particular, a lack of sleep due to anxiety and muscular tension brought on by a panic attack can lead to headaches and migraines.
When we feel anxious, the body prepares for an attack. This means our heart begins racing, our breathing becomes shallow and our muscles tense up, preparing us to fight or run. In the case of a panic attack, all of this is amplified.
On top of this, once the anxiety or panic subsides, these symptoms don’t often just disappear. Your heart may begin to slow and return to a normal rhythm, but muscle tension, specifically, may linger.
Usually, we tense up around our shoulders and neck, creating tension around the head area. As a result, this may lead to aching, headaches and even migraines. So, how can we stop this from happening?
How to Prevent Panic-Related Migraines & Headaches
Ultimately, treating anxiety-caused migraines and headaches comes down to addressing the anxiety or panic attacks themselves. So, here are a few ways to do that.
1. Know and Identify Your Triggers
Being able to recognize what triggers a panic attack (and, thus, a headache or migraine) can help you avoid them entirely. In particular, migraines are triggered by poor sleep, stress, alcohol and hormonal changes.
And it’s not just about knowing but being able to recognize your triggers in the moment and address them, helping avoid escalation.
2. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Having a toolkit to turn to during moments of anxiety can help you quell it before it reaches the point of a panic attack. A mental health therapist may even be able to help you find techniques that work best for you.
However, a few examples include:
- Deep breathing techniques.
- Tai chi.
- Heat therapy.
- Progressive relaxation.
- Imagery or visualization.
3. Assess and Adjust Your Lifestyle
While this may sound oversimplified, taking a serious look at your lifestyle and where you can make improvements can go a long way. While anxiety can impact your sleep and eating habits, your eating habits and sleep can also negatively impact your anxiety levels.
Consider the following when making lifestyle changes:
- Go to bed by 10 p.m. and wake up at the same time each day.
- Move your body every day.
- Have a wind-down routine in the hours leading up to bed.
- Drink enough water throughout your day.
- Focus on eating healthy and whole foods and reducing processed foods.
- Don’t skip meals, as this may make anxiety worse.
Make sure to always start with a little bit at a time. Take baby steps and gradually build from there. It may also be beneficial to discuss your options with your family doctor to determine what course of action is best for you.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications for your anxiety or headaches. Most often, though, over-the-counter options can help with migraines or headaches. Yet, many of these aren’t long-term fixes.
5. Talk Therapy
Anxiety disorders can often benefit from talk therapy. And this won’t only improve your anxiety symptoms but also your headaches or migraines that follow panic attacks.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is commonly used for anxiety and depression disorders. This type of therapy can help you address your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how they are interconnected and contributing to your anxiety and headaches.
With your therapist, make sure to mention mental and physical symptoms so they can help you address them and improve your overall quality of life.
Pfizer’s ZAVZPRET™ (zavegepant)
If you want to help stop your migraines, consider using ZAVZPRET, a nasal spray that helps adults with migraines. This novel approach provides an option for individuals who cannot use or do not respond well to triptans, including those with contraindications or intolerance to triptans.
Nurtec ODT for Migraines
Nurtec ODT is a prescription medication designed to provide relief from migraine headaches. It comes in the form of an orally disintegrating tablet, making it easy to take without water. The active ingredient, rimegepant, works by blocking certain signals associated with migraines. Nurtec ODT is typically taken as needed, and it is effective in reducing migraine pain and symptoms. It offers a convenient and accessible option for individuals seeking relief from the debilitating effects of migraines.
While a panic disorder gives way to frequent panic attacks, many of which are unexpected, many individuals also experience headaches and migraines afterward. So, what gives? And how can you ease these physical symptoms?
Additionally, alternative medicine options, like acupuncture, may help some individuals overcome anxiety, headaches and migraines.
Before beginning any treatment regime, it may be best to discuss your options with your doctor. They know you and your health history best and can help determine a path appropriate for you and your goals.