Migraines can cause intense, debilitating pain that can leave the sufferer out of commission for hours on end. Preventing them can often be difficult, especially when you’re not aware of your triggers or the exact circumstances that cause your migraines. Here are a few methods of prevention and tracking that could help you prevent your next migraine attack.
What Triggers A Migraine?
Figuring out what causes or “triggers” a migraine is key to helping prevent them. There is no one cause, so it is helpful to keep a journal of when you get them, as well as what might have caused it, including your diet, sleep patterns, level of stress, etc. Here are a few things that may trigger migraine attacks:
- Drinking red wine can trigger migraines for some people
- Getting too little sleep
- Getting poor sleep
- Weather changes
- Too little exercise
- Stress, or even winding down from stress
- Skipping meals, or irregular meals
- For women: Hormone level changes
How Can You Prevent Migraines Without Medications?
Techniques and methods for preventing migraines without medication should be discussed with your doctor, if you’re considering not using the medications. There are various methods, but they all will take time and effort and may not be the ideal method for you.
- Nerve Stimulation Therapy: This is intended to stimulate certain nerves related to pain transmission to affect how the brain receives these signals
- Relaxation Techniques: There are several techniques intended to help prevent migraine pain that can be learned either through videos, books, or classes. Two such options are autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation
- Biofeedback is a method of trying consciously to control the body functions that cause migraines subconsciously
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is also used to help the migraine sufferer dig deep into the pain and other feelings to control the appearance of migraines psychologically
What Are Some Alternative Methods to Preventing Migraines?
While research has not yielded a lot of evidence as to the effectiveness of certain alternative migraine prevention methods, you can always discuss them with your doctor. This can include dietary supplements and herbal products like magnesium, feverfew, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10.
Can Medications Help Prevent Migraines?
There are many medications, which you may already be aware of, which are intended to treat migraines, but they are not intended to prevent migraines. Preventive medications are intended to be taken whether or not you have symptoms, over a longer period of time. Generally, medications for prevention are recommended if the following apply to you:
- You need to use medication more than 10 days per month
- Painkillers or triptans don’t help, or you can’t use the normal medication due to side effects
- Your attacks frequently last longer than three days
- Your attacks are especially severe
- You have three or more migraine attacks per month that you would describe as debilitating
Consult with a doctor if there are any methods you haven’t explored, especially if your migraines aren’t being prevented to your satisfaction. Your healthcare provider can explain to you all of the risks, and can let you know if they are possible options, given your medical history.