Tips to Prevent Migraine

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You can do a lot (tips) to prevent migraine headaches.

Migraines can be debilitating, annoying, and impact your quality of life — however, there is much you can do to avoid them. Identifying what triggers your headaches or migraine to make proactive lifestyle changes makes it possible to control better and manage your migraine symptoms. Here are some tips to prevent migraine.

1. Be aware of your triggers.

Migraines do not impact everyone the same way and the events that trigger a migraine can vary significantly from person to person. While you will never be able to avoid all triggers, you will be in a better position if you know which triggers impact you. Common triggers include emotional stress, menstruation and other hormonal changes in women, skipping meals, weather changes, irregular sleep, strong odors, lights and other visual stimuli, sudden noises, smoke, exercise or overexertion, or sex.

2. Watch your diet.

Many patients are not aware that what they eat can significantly impact their migraine symptoms. Studies show as many as 50% of migraine sufferers have headaches triggered by a food item. While I find some patients know that migraines can be related to aspartame or monosodium glutamate, they are often surprised to learn that caffeine, cheese, chocolate, and processed meats may also impact migraines. 

3. Keep a headache journal.

Keeping a headache journal can be a great tool to help you. Also, it not only identifies triggers but also figures out what treatments might work best. This is for preventing and relieving your headaches. Ensure the date, time, intensity, preceding symptoms, triggers, medication, and response to medication. You may also want to record how frequently headaches are occurring. Other associated symptoms, where the pain is located, and a description of the pain (e.g., throbbing or piercing). In addition, Consider tracking food intake, any over-the-counter vitamins or supplements you are using. Also, what your sleep is like, and how much exercise you have been doing.

4. Consider a medicinal preventive treatment.

Indeed, I find many migraine patients suffer in silence. While there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines, I generally offer preventive therapy to patients especially, if they have more than four migraines in a month. Also, if they have significant headaches that last 12 or more hours or if the migraines are debilitating. Several different medication options will depend on your particular medical situation. Consult your psychiatrist to learn more about these options.

5. Look into alternative preventive treatments.

Feverfew, coenzyme Q10, and butterbur root are the most widely studied alternative treatments for preventing migraines. Butterbur root is an herbal medicine that is marketed in the United States as a food supplement. In addition, several studies have shown that taking 150mg daily can prevent headaches. In a small study using an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, a significant number of patients reduced migraines by more than half at a dose of 100 mg three times daily. Feverfew, an herbal plant-based remedy, has also had several trials, but results on its efficacy are conflicting. Moreover, if you decide to implement an alternative treatment, talk with your doctor to ensure these products will not interfere with any other medical treatments. These products are not as widely studied and not as tightly regulated by the FDA.

6. Try over-the-counter medicines.

Mild headaches are often relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For example, such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, or paracetamol. All medications can have side effects, so be sure to ask your doctor what OTC medicine is best for you.

Those are some tips to prevent migraines. Thus, if a medication works for you, consider asking your doctor about a prescription product that combines it with caffeine. This is because the combination sometimes works better than the OTC medicine alone. While migraines can be hard to get rid of, treating them at the first sign of headache will increase the likelihood of relief. 

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