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How can I Prevent Migraines?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 17, 2024
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Having a migraine headache is a pain known only to those who suffer from them. When you have a migraine, everything hurts, and all you want to do is crawl under a dark rock and sleep. There are pills designed to specifically ease the pain of migraines, but it is now believed that prevention is better than a cure.

There are a few factors to remember if you wish to prevent migraines. The first factor is to try and figure out what exactly is causing your migraine. Recognizing when your migraines occur and what is setting them off will be a major help. These are called migraine triggers, and they are different in each person.

As you recognize the pattern that your migraines are taking, it should be easier to prevent migraines from occurring. The best time to prevent migraines is just before they occur; this is when administering the drugs will be of most help. However, avoiding the trigger situations will also help prevent migraines.

Many migraines are caused by the lifestyles we lead. Common causes of migraines are stress, lack or excess of sleep, and too much caffeine and nicotine. The menstrual cycle can also be a trigger for migraines in women. Depression, alcohol, dieting, certain foods, bright lights, and even smells can all set off migraines.

If you can recognize that you are suffering from migraines due to certain factors, you may be able to prevent migraines from occurring. One way to prevent migraines may be to keep a migraine diary. In this book, you can document when your migraines occur and what factors led up to the migraine happening. This may help you detect a pattern in your headache triggers and help you avoid migraine attacks.

There are a number of medicines available that help prevent migraines. They are designed to be taken before the migraine starts. The newest drug on the market that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is topiramate, or Topamax. This has had very successful results in treating headaches.

There are other ways to prevent migraines that do not involve drugs. Adopting relaxation and stress management techniques is said to be of great benefit if you suffer from migraines. Learning how to control the body’s blood vessels is another tried and tested method to prevent migraines.

Recent research has shown that doses of riboflavin, or vitamin B2, as well as magnesium, can help prevent migraines. When taking these supplements, you may have to wait three months before you see any improvement. The effects and causes of migraines are different in all people. If you are suffering, your doctor will be able to give you the best advice in both preventing and coping with the migraines.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By ivanka — On Jul 23, 2010

Here is something I have just learned from a girlfriend of mine who has been suffering from migraines for over 30 years.

There are certain factors that contribute to the onset of a migraine headache. The worst and biggest is stress, but in addition to that there are certain foods that migraine sufferers should stay away from.

One of those foods is chocolate. If you have to have some chocolate, a small piece of the dark chocolate is better. Another food is cheese. I am not sure if all cheeses or just some, but it is worth checking that one out.

Alcohol, and in particular wine, is another migraine starter.

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