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The Top 5 Steps to Prevent Migraines

Migraines can be considered a chronic condition and an attack can be triggered anytime, anywhere by normal everyday things. Migraine triggers come in many forms, and though one cannot prevent every migraine attack from occurring, these tips may be very useful in reducing the occurrence of migraines or the intensity of the attacks.

1.       Make sure that your headaches are really migraine headaches. People often self-diagnose and self-medicate when they get a headache. Taking steps to avoid migraine triggers won’t work if you’re not suffering from a migraine in the first place. If you suspect that you’re suffering from migraine headaches, consult a headache specialist to make sure.

2.       Identify what your triggers are.  There are many possible triggers that can cause a migraine; however, not all triggers apply to everyone. While one migraine patient’s headaches may be triggered by a particular food or drink, the same food or drink may not have the same effect on another migraine patient. Knowing what triggers your headaches helps you avoid the things that can cause your headaches and enjoy the things that don’t. The best way to know which triggers apply to you is to keep a diary of what you ate or what you did prior to a migraine attack. Soon enough, a pattern will emerge and you will know what triggers to avoid.

3.       Know what you are allergic to. There are many theories about the connection between migraines and allergies, but one of the most popular theories is that when a person experiences an allergic reaction, the body releases histamine. This chemical can trigger vasodilation or the dilation of the blood vessels in the head which allows the blood to rush up to the head causing the migraine. Knowing what you’re allergic to is not as simple as knowing which food or environmental factors trigger a migraine. Once you have isolated potential allergen, consult a doctor for some tests to see if you really are allergic to these substances.

4.       Stay away from bright lights. People who experience migraines know that bright lights can often trigger migraines. Wear dark sunglasses to protect your eyes outdoors and adjust the lighting in your home or find a suitable workspace in the office that does not have harsh lighting.

5.       Recognize the signs of an impending migraine. Every once and a while, we get a migraine attack even if we have tried so hard to avoid potential triggers. Some patients are diagnosed with a condition called Migraine with Aura. This occurs in people who have visual and other neurological disturbances a few minutes to an hour before the actual headache. This can serve as an early warning device and a sign that tells the patient to take their medication before the actual onset of the headache. Unfortunately, the aura phase does not happen in every migraine patient. Most migraine sufferers don’t feel any symptoms prior to the migraine attack, but since the headache usually takes time to develop from the onset before it becomes a full-blown migraine, it’s best to take medications as early as possible to manage or control the pain.

These tips are not meant to replace actual medical advice given by a doctor. For more information about migraines and how to prevent them, consult a headache specialist.