Alexandra "Aly" Raiman conquered the world of gymnastics as captain of the US Olympic teams "Fierce Five" and "Final Five" and won several medals, including three golds. The inspiring 27-year-old from Needham, MA, is a UNICEF Kid Power Ambassador and has bravely shown solidarity with the many victims who were sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar. Since retiring from gymnastics, Raisman has earned even more fans by finishing fourth in season 16 of "Dancing with the Stars," and has recently started sharing her personal experiences with migraines.
Muscle & Fitness Hers sat down with the excellent athlete to learn about the symptoms and treatments of migraines, and how the debilitating condition often goes uncontrolled.
“As a gymnast, I always tried to assert myself,” says Raisman. “When I was younger, I wasn't taught to think about my feelings. I was not empowered to stand up for myself or ask for help, so for me it was always just trying to assert myself, which many athletes can relate to. I can often remember getting extreme sensitivity around my scalp during competitions, after competitions and training and I always thought it was because I had my hair in a really tight bun, but I got it through that Work with noted Dr. Blumenfeld (Director of the Headache Center of Southern California) that this is actually a symptom of a migraine. And when I look back, now that I understand more of the symptoms of what a migraine looks like, I've found that there have been so many times in competitions and even now in my everyday life because I speak a lot in public now, and sometimes a migraine is triggered. "
Migraines are hereditary
"My mother also has migraines," says Raisman. “It's actually more common in women, and many people who have migraines go undiagnosed. That's why I speak about it very passionately. "
In fact, the Migraine Research Foundation says that 28 of the 39 million Americans who suffer from migraines are women. Conversely, it is more common in boys in childhood, and it is believed that the likelihood of suffering in women increases as female estrogen levels rise during puberty. Many women also find that migraine symptoms are influenced by menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
"When I grew up, I watched my mother lay in bed with the lights off, in so much pain and feeling so uncomfortable, but I never put 2 and 2 together that I actually had migraines." reminiscent of the Olympic icon.
Being as fit as an Olympian doesn't mean you won't have symptoms of a migraine. "For years I have struggled with nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to light, headaches and neck pain," says Raisman. "And to be honest, I had no idea why I felt this way, and when I was finally diagnosed it felt confirmatory because I could finally understand why I felt this way." Symptoms also include blurred vision or blind spots, dizziness, and difficulty speaking.
A diagnosis of migraine will likely include an evaluation of your family's medical history. A doctor trained in the management of headaches, such as a neurologist, can often tell relatively quickly whether you have migraines. In complex or severe cases, MRI or CT scans can also be used to rule out other causes of headaches.
Diet is believed to play a role in triggering migraines. Therefore, people are advised to avoid foods rich in nitrates such as bacon and sausage. Red wine, processed and pickled foods, and cultured dairy products like yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream can all have negative consequences. On the other hand, ginger can help in relieving nausea and migraine severity and duration. Magnesium-rich foods like seeds, nuts, eggs, and milk are said to help, as magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraines. Exercises like yoga and meditation sessions are also used by many sufferers to alleviate their symptoms
On the medical side, Raisman was recently prescribed UBRELVY and says the tablets give her great relief. Other UBRELVY proponents include tennis ace Serena Williams. According to the company's website, this is "the first pill of its kind designed to directly block the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGPR) protein, which is believed to play an important role in migraine attacks," by causing pain and inflammation ”. UBRELVY is only prescribed to adults with acute migraines. "It causes a little nausea and fatigue," says Dr. Field of flowers. "It provides about 60% of patients with migraine relief within two hours and one in five is headache-free within two hours."
Searching for help
“I know a lot of people fight in silence,” says Raisman. “Whether it's someone who has migraines, anxiety, depression, or is going through something really traumatic and trying to deal with it, I'd say it's really important to remember to treat yourself as we would a loved one or would treat someone. ”that are important to us. If someone came to us who was not doing well and was having a really hard time and something affected them so much that it affected their everyday lives, most of us would suggest seeing a doctor and getting help. And I think it's so important that we offer ourselves the same advice and kindness and let ourselves be examined because what we feel is real and it's valid, and I think it's so important that we all do feel as good as possible. "
Winning tip from the Olympic champion!