Migraines and how to avoid them

  • By Team TDO

Everybody today has heard of migraines and how excruciatingly painful they can be. They say “Prevention is better than a cure”; and this age-old adage rings true, in the case of migraines as well. So far, there isn’t any known surefire way to prevent migraines. However, if you catch a migraine before it starts, you can reduce the severity of the pain and in best case scenarios, avoid it altogether.

Preventive treatments, or Prophylactic treatments as they are medically known, are an important part of migraine management. The goals of preventive therapy are to reduce the duration, frequency and painfulness of the migraines and whenever possible, to completely avoid that particular “state” of mind.

Preventive measures additionally help, because they avoid a problem known as Medication Overuse Headache (MOH), also known as rebound headaches, which result in daily chronic headaches. As the name suggests, this problem is believed to occur due to the overuse of pain medications and in some cases, self-medication.

Here are a few tips that can help you prevent migraines.

  1. Avoid loud noises and bright lights: Loud noises, flashing lights and other similar sensory stimulants, are common triggers for migraines. While some stimuli like driving at night or the glare of sunlight during the day, are harder to avoid; stimuli like the screen glare from TVs and computers can be easily dealt with. One just needs to adjust the brightness on the screen and take regular breaks.
  2. Pay attention to your food choices: Some foods like chocolates, cheeses, processed meats and even dark colored alcoholic drinks (Read: Red Wines) can bring about a migraine. Knowing which foods can initiate headaches and avoiding them, will obviously go a long way in preventing migraines.
  3. Keeping a record: Keeping a diary or a log of your activities, can help you identify and keep track of any migraine triggers. Everything, right from what you consume, what schedule or routine you follow, any strong emotions or feelings you may experience, down to the weather and even what medication you consume, should be noted down.
  4. Take nutritional supplements: While migraines can come and go with or without medication, it is still advisable to take the appropriate nutritional supplements, as certain herbs and minerals so actually help avoid migraines. Consult your medical adviser/doctor on this matter.
  5. Keep an eye on the weather: Weather can affect your migraine patterns. Hot temperatures, humidity and even a rainy day, can cause a headache. If you feel the weather may make things uncomfortable for you, take a break from the outdoors and try to minimize your exposure to migraine inducing weather.
  6. Keep a regular schedule for meals and rest: Skipping meals is known to cause migraines in some cases. Hunger, dehydration and sleep deprivation are all well-known causes of migraine. Excessive sleeping can induce headaches as well, so oversleeping to make up for lost time, is not a good idea.
  7. Take care with your exercise regime: Regular exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but intense exercises like weight lifting can trigger headaches and nausea. Taking anti-inflammatory medication, prior to exercising may help, but your best bet is to opt for activities that do not strain your body much like yoga, tai chi or even light aerobics.
  8. Avoid stress: Although this seems like a no-brainer to most people, the fact is that we find ourselves in stressful situations, every day. Controlling how your body reacts to the stress with relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and biofeedback, can help reduce the stress level and calm our minds and bodies.

In summary, the best way to prevent migraines is to identify what causes or triggers the symptoms of migraine, and either find a way to deal with those triggers or avoid them completely.