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Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad

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AS SEEN ON FOX 5: Coronavirus Pandemic Could Trigger Stress Causing Migraines

Authored by Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad. April 1, 2020

Millions of Americans are starting to feel the price of social distancing and the overwhelming stress that comes with a pandemic and the resulting economic fall out. With as many as 50 million Americans already suffering from migraines – managing stress is essential to getting through the next weeks and months.  A neurologist will join us with information on what you can do to get control of migraines. Stress can, and does, come from many sources. The coronavirus pandemic and the associated  anxiety can cause tremendous stress. When stress is overwhelming, the human brain’s ability to function normally is affected.


Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households has someone who suffers from migraines. That’s a whopping 39 million Americans who know all too well how stress can trigger this debilitating neurological disorder.  Now they AND the rest of the country are experiencing the new stress that comes with the pandemic of COVID-19. Families are stuck at home, isolated from each other and worried about their financial future — a surefire recipe for stress.  Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad, a neurologist and migraine specialist at Virginia Spine Institute, shares his top tips to ward off stress migraines and manage stress overall during these unprecedented times.

  • Move your body: Exercise can reduce our body’s stress hormones while stimulating the production of endorphins – the chemicals that elevate our mood and serve as the body’s natural painkillers.
  • Get enough sleep: The Sleep Foundation says the range of needed sleep varies from person to person, but generally 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults is recommended.
  • Reduce Alcohol, Caffeine & Smoking: All of these may appear to reduce stress in the short term, but combined with hormonal changes, they can trigger migraines.
  • Connect with others: Research shows that maintaining a sense of connectedness with others improves overall well being and physical health.  (Source: Psychology Today)
    A support system is especially critical today.  Use programs like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp to connect with friends and loved ones when we can’t physically be together.
    Get outside and talk to neighbors – making sure you’re standing the recommended 6 feet apart.
  • Get outside
  • 1 out of every 10 people suffer from migraines – that’s 39 million Americans (some estimates suggest as many as 50 million Americans are impacted)
  • Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine.
  • 10% of school children are affected too.

(Source: Migraine Research Foundation,

Reviewed by: Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad.

About The Authors

Dr. Sommer Ebdlahad

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