How to prevent migraine attacks?
A migraine is not just a headache. It is a chronic condition in which a person suffers a series of painful head throbbing. Migraines can be very problematic because they can produce other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and sensitivities to light and sound. Interestingly, one-third of people affected by migraine attacks report that migraines can be predicted by symptoms such as slight but noticeable losses of vision.
Many different factors cause migraines. These include internal factors such as stress, anxiety, biological and hormonal changes, and dietary substances. But they can also include environmental factors such as smells, strobing or flashing lights, and sounds.
Many affected individuals report that untreated migraine attacks can be detrimental to their daily functioning. After all, nothing can impair a day of work or relaxation more than the onset of chronic and painful headaches. Because the pathophysiology of migraine attacks is not yet fully understood, there is no cure for the condition. Still, there are some ways to prevent and mitigate the onset of migraines. Below are three suggestions.
1. Avoid certain foods and smells
Many people affected by migraine attacks report that certain foods seem to trigger migraines. For the most part, dieticians and doctors have found that foods with high quantities of preservatives like monosodium glutamate tend to produce onsets of migraines. Other dietary factors correlated with migraines seem to be yeasts, artificial flavorings, and preservative substances found in canned and cold meats like sodium nitrite.
You should therefore limit your intake of foods like flavored crackers, bread, canned and cured meats, and bottled salad dressings. In terms of vegetables and fruits, try to eat fresh and avoid instant mashed potatoes, dried fruits with preservatives, and canned and pickled foods like sauerkraut and beans.
Particular triggers differ across individuals, but some of the most common triggers include particularly pungent foods like cheese, wine, smoked fish, and cured meats.
If you suffer from migraines, listen to your body when eating foods with high preservative contents and strong flavors. Pinpointing a trigger that you could later consciously avoid could help you live life freer of the annoyances caused by migraines.
2. Take preventive medications
Many pharmaceutical options can treat migraine attacks. Drugs originally developed to treat depression, high blood pressure, and epilepsy seem to be very successful in treating migraines. Botox, too, seems to prevent the onset of chronic migraine attacks.
It’s very important to keep in mind that you should listen closely to your doctor’s instructions if you take medications to deal with migraine attacks. Sudden deviations from your medication regime, like sudden interruptions in your medication regimen, can become triggers that cause migraines.
You can seek other solutions to ease or prevent pain from migraines. Cefaly is a device you can wear on your head like a headband. It produces electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves associated with migraines. Spring TM, similarly, is a device that allows you to manage the pain from migraines by holding it close to the back of your head when a migraine is about to start.
3. Lifestyle Changes
Besides avoiding foods or medicating, you can prevent migraine attacks by shifting your lifestyle practices and engaging in a healthier lifestyle.
Have a regular sleep schedule
Patients with chronic migraines have expressed that sharp deviations in your sleep schedule, like going to bed late and waking up late, can trigger intense headaches. Migraine attacks seem more likely to occur when you have an irregular sleep schedule. Try to get into a regular sleeping routine by going to sleep at the same time each day. This can help your body get into a rhythm that lowers stress (more about stress below).
Migraine attacks have also been mitigated with the help of exercise. There has been some anecdotal evidence that exercising can become a migraine trigger. Still, competing evidence has also shown that the benefits of moderate exercise, like stress relief, endorphin release, and weight control, more than offset the possibility of exercise becoming a trigger. It is important, however, to remember that any exercise you do engage in be moderate. Excessive and highly strenuous exercise can be a trigger.
Hydrate and maintain blood sugar level
Two of the best tips regarding dietary changes you can make to prevent migraines are 1) to never let your blood sugar levels drop too far and 2) to hydrate throughout the day. Low blood sugar and dehydration can make you feel stressed out, lethargic, and moody. Sugar and water, furthermore, are vital to cellular function, so having a diet that incorporates lots of fruits and veggies is an excellent idea.
The last and perhaps most important lifestyle change you can adopt is to keep your stress level under control. This is, of course, easier said than done in a fast-paced and busy society such as ours. So taking an hour or two to do something you find relaxing like meditating, reading, or walking can be very rewarding. The actual causes of migraines are not quite well-understood, but migraine attacks have been linked to changes in serotonin levels in the brain. As a result, easing your mental state throughout the day is recommended to prevent migraine attacks.
Don’t hesitate to consult your Century physician for extra tips on how to prevent migraines.