How to Avoid a Migraine Before it Happens
There are certain triggers that cause migraines, such as food, hormonal shifts and even bright sunlight. Find out what your weaknesses are to avoid feeling the pain.
How to Prevent Migraines
Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraines. If you are one of these unlucky victims, you know the annoying and sometime debilitating symptoms they can cause. Nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound are some of the unpleasant problems that accompany the severe headaches. If you catch a migraine before it begins, you can reduce its severity. By identifying and avoiding specific triggers, you can minimize your chances of suffering from a migraine. Read on to learn how to avoid a migraine before it begins.
Avoid Loud Noises and Bright Lights
Loud noises, flashing lights, and sensory stimulation are common triggers for migraine headaches. These stimuli may be difficult to avoid, but things like driving at night, movie theaters, clubs and crowded venues, and glare from the sun are common environments that may cause migraines. Take breaks from the TV or computer screen to rest your eyes, and adjust the brightness levels on these screens. Pay close attention to all visual and audio disturbances and make sure you can easily avoid them if a migraine arises.
Pay Attention to Food Choices
Certain foods, such as chocolate, red wine and dark-colored alcohol, processed meats, sweeteners and cheese, can initiate the headaches. Know which foods and additives bring about a headache and learn to avoid them. Foods and drinks with caffeine or alcohol are common triggers, so limit the amount you consume during the day.
Keep a Headache Diary
By keeping a diary, you can easily keep track of your triggers. Write down everything you eat and drink, your exercise routine and schedule, the weather, strong feelings and emotions you may be having, your medications and their effects, and times and severity of your headaches. This can help you see a pattern in your migraine occurrences, and will make avoiding one easier.
Women: Beware of Hormonal Changes
Hormones play a large part in migraines. Many women tend to experience more migraine headaches during their menstrual cycle. During this time, women should be vigilant with their diet and exercise habits. This will ease symptoms before they begin. Oral contraceptives may increase the frequency and severity of migraines. Some women may find relief switching from birth control pills to another form of birth control.
Although migraines can come with or without medication, it is important to get the proper nutrients. Taking certain herbs and minerals can help ward off migraines. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to contribute to the onset of migraines, so taking a daily supplement may help reduce outbursts. Talk to your doctor about herbal remedies and other non-prescription supplements that may help your symptoms.
Pay Attention to the Weather Report
Changes in the weather can affect your migraine patterns. Humidity and hot temperatures can stimulate headaches, as can rainy days, so it’s important to be aware of your environment. If the weather becomes uncomfortable for you, you may need to step inside and take a break from the outdoors. Of course you can’t always avoid going outdoors, but you can minimize your time spent in the headache-inducing weather.
Sleep and Eat on a Regular Schedule
Fasting or skipping meals can trigger migraine headaches. Make sure you eat within an hour after waking up and then every three hours. Hunger and dehydration both cause migraines, so make sure you are drinking enough water and never skip a meal. Lack of sleep can aggravate symptoms as well, so make sure you clock in at least eight hours. Even getting too much sleep can cause headaches; so don’t try to make up for lost sleep by snoozing too long.
Although we can't always control stressful situations, we can control how we react to them. Migraines are a common result of stressful events. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and biofeedback can help reduce levels of stress and calm our bodies and minds down.
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But intense exercise, such as weight lifting, can trigger headaches, so pay attention to your body’s response to certain activities. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs prior to exercise may help ease symptoms. Opt for activities that promote stress reduction without putting too much strain on the body, such as yoga, light aerobics, or tai chi.
Tips to Remember
Learning to avoid your specific triggers and planning ahead is an important part of keeping your migraines under control. By catching them early, you avoid the most severe symtpoms.