Overview, Effects, Tips to Help

Do your migraine episodes tend to pop up on Saturdays? Consider these coping tips that may ease your migraine and help you take your weekend back.

You may find yourself stressed from a long work week, especially when deadlines hit and sleep gets more scarce.

However, you may find that those weekends of rest and relaxation turn south when a headache sets in — especially if it’s a dreaded migraine attack.

If you find yourself trying to relax over the weekend only to get a migraine attack, what you could be experiencing is a commonly nicknamed a weekend migraine.

Luckily, you can take steps to prevent, treat, and cope with weekend migraine with some effort and preparation.

A weekend migraine is “a migraine brought on the weekend due to stress release, or it can be related to the weekend’s events,” says Courtney Beck, a nurse practitioner and migraine specialist in Oklahoma. It can also be referred to as “letdown migraine.”

This letdown refers to your body adjusting from the tempo of the weekend to the changed tempo of the weekend for those who switch their daily routines on Saturdays and Sundays.

This experience is also common for those who work very long hours during the week or those who “live for the weekend” — shifting their routines over the weekend for fun or rest.

For some, the letdown may arrive when you allow yourself a breather, which may disrupt your routines and stress patterns for the better. Still, weekend migraine may occur from this rest.

Some people who already live with migraine may experience an uptick in symptoms over the weekend. However, weekend migraine can happen to anyone.

The difference between regular migraine and weekend migraine is that weekend migraine is directly related to a change in your routines, stress, or sleep patterns — often occurring between the week and weekend.

Anxiety plays a large role in shaping weekend migraine, so your weekend migraine attacks may have more to do with factors outside of routine.

Anxiety is quite common in people with migraine. The American Migraine Foundation found that almost half of the people in the United States who live with migraine also experience anxiety.

Other potential causes of weekend migraine include:

As frustrating as weekend migraine may feel, you can use strategies to prevent and manage it.

Consider these coping tips:

  • Keep a migraine diary. It may be a good idea to start tracking when you get weekend migraine attacks so you can get to know possible triggers. Document whether you get a migraine episode as well as things like what you ate, what you drank, your stress level, how long you exercised, and any external factors that could contribute to migraine.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches, according to recent review of studies. To prevent weekend migraine, consider keeping water nearby.
  • Keep a regular sleep routine. A 2012 study showed that sleep deprivation can cause headaches. While you may be tempted to sleep in longer over the weekend, research has shown that excessive sleep can also lead to headaches. Try waking up at the same time that you do during the week to avoid weekend migraine.
  • Consider stress-relief exercises. Start to find stress-relief exercises that make you feel good throughout the week and weekend to help you prevent a weekend migraine. This could include meditation, yoga, journaling, and painting.
  • Get fresh air throughout the weekend. Getting outside into nature may be another stress relief tool to help you prevent weekend migraine. You can also “take a walk in the morning to help get vitamin D, and help with circadian rhythm,” offers Beck.
  • Monitor alcohol consumption. Beck also recommends noting any trends with your migraine attacks and how they relate to how much or what type of alcohol you drink. After all, a 2014 study Suggested that people with migraine are more vulnerable to migraine-like hangover symptoms than people without migraine.
  • Create a “migraine kit.” It could be a good idea to have a migraine kit handy. In it, you can have “necessary prevention medications and supplements,” says Beck. You could also add something you know will give you stress relief like essential oils, tea, or an eye mask.

Above all else, keeping a regular routine remains one of the best ways to avoid this common form of migraine.

As far as when to get help, you may find it time to ask for help as soon as weekend migraine starts to negatively affect your routine or your symptoms become unbearable.

“If migraine starts to affect your daily activities, work, or weekend plans, then you need to reach out and seek help,” offers Beck.

You could speak to a doctor or headache specialist to explore your options and get a handle on what’s causing weekend migraine.

Another option is to join a support group for those who experience migraine such as Miles for Migraine, Migraine Again, or CHAMP.

There are a number of ways to prevent weekend migraine or cope with it when it arrises. While it may take time and patience to find the right strategy for you, relief may be around the corner.

You can start enjoying your weekends of rest and relaxation again — and it may take sooner than you think with these coping tips.

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