If we are going to try and learn how to prevent a migraine from occurring, we must first know what we are trying to prevent.
A migraine generally is defined as and refers to a very intense and severe headache. Most usually, this type of headache has a great deal of throbbing pain, and often is accompanied by nausea and or vomiting. The migraine headache frequently is accompanied by an extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Some sensory warning signs that can be a predecessor to the onset of the migraine or as part of the actual migraine are tingling arms and or legs, blind spots, blurred or disturbed vision, and flashes of light.
A migraine can last for hours or even days with any variety and or combination of the symptoms. The duration and severity of a migraine will vary from person to person. It is unfortunate but a migraine can have a debilitating effect on a sufferer’s family and social life, as well as their work life.
How to Prevent Migraines effectively
Now that we have learned a little about what a migraine is, and realized we don’t want to have one, let’s look at some ways of how to prevent migraines.
There are some common triggers that can cause migraines and by controlling these common triggers, you can discover how to avoid migraines. Some of these triggers are:
• Blood Sugar Levels: Much like a diabetic must pay very close attention to the amount of sugars and refined carbohydrates, a migraine sufferer would do well to manage the amount of their sugar intake as well. Depending on the individual either low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, and high blood sugar, hyperglycemia, could lead to the onset of a migraine.
Choosing foods high in proteins and natural sugars like those that are found in fruits can help provide the balance that you need to help prevent migraines.
• Limit or avoid foods that contain Tyramine and Nitrates: The affect of these elements on certain people leads to the release of a chemical that can cause head pain leading to migraines. Some examples of foods that contain these compounds are beer, wine, ham, sausage, bacon, potatoes, spinach, eggplant, and aged cheese.
• Adequate hydration is very important: Migraines can be caused by dehydration or the inadequate intake of water and other fluids over the course of a day. When a person is dehydrated, the blood vessels in the brain begin to narrow and can cause the head to ache. This is the main reason that sufficient and adequate hydration is important. In a general sense, you can determine your level of hydration by the color of your urine. The clearer, or less yellow, a person’s urine appears, the more hydrated they are. If your urine is dark yellow and or you are urinating infrequently, it is recommended that you hydrate. If you wait until you are feeling thirsty, it might be too late. This applies even when not suffering from heat related issues.
• Being aware of the potential of food allergies: Certain food allergies can cause the onset of a migraine. Of course, there are as many different food allergies as there are different types of food, so one cannot predict which food will cause a problem for which person. If you are a migraine sufferer, one technique that you might try to identify foods that could be triggers is to keep a complete and truthful food diary to track your food intake and the types of food you eat.
• Exposure to stimuli must be controlled: One way to control your exposure to light stimuli is to wear sunglasses on days when it is sunny and or very bright, even winter days. Glare is as big of a cause for the light stimuli as the direct effect of sunlight.
Other stimuli that can cause a migraine response are strong scents. If you discover an odor or scent that causes you to suffer from a migraine, it would do you great service to avoid that scent.
• Avoiding certain types of light and sounds: Two very intense and painful stimuli can be light and noise. A negative response by your body to either one of these senses can trigger migraines.
In the sensitivity of light, which is called photophobia, the pain is caused by the activation of neurons in the eyes brought on by the bright light. It can take as much as thirty minutes of darkness to begin the pain relief, as the neurons are still firing and active.
Loud noises can trigger migraines especially with continued exposure to the noise. With no real known reason, scientists have theorized that a migraine sufferer cannot internally suppress the loud noise that is the trigger.
• Weather and Migraines: Believe it or not, there is some research that suggests that the weather and changes in the climate or weather affecting the barometric pressure can cause the onset of a migraine. Dry wind or a dry atmosphere affects the body by causing head pain. This is caused by an imbalance of chemicals and the barometric pressure change.
Help for Migraines
If you are looking to discover some help avoiding and preventing migraines, it may require that you make some major and permanent lifestyle changes. Such lifestyle changes include:
• Eating foods that help protect your body from the adverse effects of chemicals and elements that can cause your migraines. A healthy and well balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, quality proteins, and whole grains. Eating foods that are rich in magnesium such as almonds and cashews, avocados, and dark chocolate to name a few. Raising your intake of Omega-3s and fatty acids by eating oily fish can also help you avoid migraines.
• Avoid caffeine. This may seem like blasphemy to many, but lowering or eliminating your caffeine intake can reduce your migraine issues. However, some migraine sufferers indicate that caffeine can help to relieve the painful symptoms of migraines. It would behoove a migraine sufferer to determine on their own which caffeine category they may fall into and react accordingly.
• Try to get more sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule to help lower your stress levels and reduce your propensity to suffer from migraines. Too little sleep or insomnia can cause migraines but on the opposite end of the spectrum, too much sleep can also exacerbate the potential for a migraine as well.
• Limit your intake of alcohol. As mentioned earlier, beer and red wine contain high levels of Tyramine and can trigger an onset of migraine symptoms that could last for many days. Using the food diary can help you to determine the level of tolerance and varieties of alcohol that you are able to consume without triggering a migraine.
• Avoid or learn to manage your stress level. Some of the best ways to manage your physical and mental stress is through exercise and meditation. One discipline that can cover both exercise and meditation is yoga. You cannot do this only once and expect it to be a long-term solution. This is part of the lifestyle change that is necessary to provide helpful solutions to your migraine problems.
Some sufferers struggle with what to do for migraines. They are faced with many medicinal options that sometimes work and other times do not. As with all medications, either prescription or over-the-counter versions, you should consult your physician and pharmacist before beginning a pharmaceutical regimen.
Many women that suffer from migraines often discover that their propensity to have an attack is around the time of their menstrual period. This is thought to be as a result of the hormonal imbalances and changes that can often ebb and flow during menstruation. This can cause the onset or flair up of a migraine. As with many foods, medications can have very different effects from user to user.
There are also some migraine preventative medications available by prescription from your family physician. If you have been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer or believe you are a migraine sufferer, then consult your physician about medicinal assistance. Pharmaceuticals such as cardiovascular medicines, even beta-blockers, anti-hypertensives, anti-seizures, and anti-depressants have been proven to aid in the prevention and relief of migraines.
Another drug that has proven useful in migraine relief and prevention is cannabis. The medicinal use of cannabis, or marijuana, is sometime controversial depending on the user and the laws of many jurisdictions. However, one cannot count out its use if it can provide a higher survivability and quality of life for a migraine sufferer.
There are also non-prescription medications that can be taken as migraine supplements to help prevent the onset of migraines for many sufferers. There are minerals and herbs that have been proven to help with migraines. Magnesium, riboflavin, coenzyme, and other herbal root supplements are a few of the options available. Again, you should consult your physician before beginning a supplement regimen. This is especially true for women who may be pregnant as many of the available supplements are not safe for pregnant women.