Tips for Reading with Chronic Migraine

By Sarina

Chronic migraine has the tendency to ruin plans and prevent new ones from being made. This means a lot of migraineurs end up at home with very limited things they can do.

One of my favorite things to do to pass the time is reading, but often times I am simply not feeling well enough to read or if I read for too long, I can end up causing a headache.

So how do I manage to maintain my love of reading with chronic migraine? Here are three of my favorite tips for reading with chronic migraine.

1. Paper vs. Electronic books

Electronic books and apps on your phone or other device can be great for on-the-go, but I have found that staring at my phone or laptop for too long can trigger a pretty bad migraine. When it comes to reading, I find it best to stick with a good, old fashioned paper book.

A big tip I have is to get books in large print. Large print books have words that are quite a bit bigger, which means less eye strain that can contribute to your already existing headache or migraine. If I can’t find a book in large print, I try to find books that already have a decent sized font. Small fonts, like in some older books, tend to be just too small for me to read.

Another alternative, however, is listening to audio books! I like listening to books when my visual disturbances get to be too much or if my vision is simply too blurry to read the words. If my migraine is pushing a 7/10 on the pain scale though, I don’t really retain any information whether it be read or heard.

2. Take reading breaks.

This might seem silly, but sometimes taking frequent breaks can really be helpful. If my head starts feeling dizzy but the pain hasn’t arrived yet, I know that I need to take a break and possibly treat a migraine early. Before it gets to that point I try to remind myself to give my eyes a break about every chapter or two depending on chapter size or length.

I usually spend my reading breaks with my eyes closed while I gently massage my temples. I also rub water on my forehead as a refresher. If a book is really good and I can’t find it in me to put it down, I might push myself a little too far and end up with a really bad migraine. You really have to pace yourself and know your limits.

3. Re-Read when necessary.

Whether I am anxious to get to the next page or my head is really hurting, I tend to skip over lines and even paragraphs on pages. If I want to try and read a book during a migraine attack, I remind myself to read slowly and re-read if I need to.

If I am going to read a book, I want to enjoy it and remember exactly what I am reading. To combat the brain fog commonly attributed to a migraine, re-reading is my secret weapon.

I might even sticky note a certain page to return to if I feel I may not have properly understood what I read. This is a great tip for general reading comprehension, whether you have a migraine or not.

Do you enjoy reading books? What are some of your migraine reading tricks? Tell us in the comments!


 

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