Although migraines are difficult to treat, studies have shown that certain preventative techniques can be very effective. If you need migraine treatment, give these strategies a try.

Identify your triggers

Common migraine triggers include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Tyramine-rich foods
  • Bright light
  • Stress
  • Food allergies
  • Continuous loud noise
  • Hormonal changes
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Dry air
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Strong odors

Know the early warning signs

Symptoms of an impending migraine attack include:

  • Visual disturbances like flashing lights or snowy vision
  • Auditory disturbances
  • Sensitivity to sound and light
  • Loss of balance
  • Sudden emotional changes

What You Can Do To Head Off Migraines

Once you know your triggers and can identify early warning signs, you can implement a migraine prevention program to reduce the severity of the attacks.

  • Diet Can Prevent Migraines
  • Eliminate foods that seem to trigger migraines
  • Eat magnesium-rich foods like almonds, cashews, soybeans and whole grains; they relax blood vessels
  • Omega-3 and fatty acids in oily fish can prevent migraines
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin B such as dark green veggies, yogurt and eggs
  • Don’t miss meals and keep hydrated
  • Caffeine can sometimes prevent migraines if taken at the first sign of an attack
  • Avoid beer and red wine; the tyramine content can trigger attacks

Lifestyle Changes That May Help

  • Maintain a regular sleeping and waking schedule
  • Reduce stress as much as possible
  • Good posture seems to reduce headaches
  • Practice relaxation, yoga, meditation, positive thinking, prayer and deep breathing
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce bright light
  • Keep the brightness level on computer and TV screens at a low level
  • Exercise regularly; it reduces stress
  • Use a humidifier. Dry air seems to trigger attacks

Non-Prescription Prophylactic Supplements

If prescription medicines are not an option, the following supplements show promise as migraine treatment:

  • Magnesium
  • Feverfew and Butterbur plant extracts
  • Kudzu root
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Vitamin B2 and B6

Prophylactic Prescription Medicines Used to Treat Migraines

The following medications are available by prescription. If your headaches occur frequently, these drugs may help, but because they can have serious side effects, they should only be used under medical supervision and if safer strategies are ineffective.

  • Cardiovascular and anti-hypertension medications
  • Triptans
  • SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medicines

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