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Tips to help you avoid a migraine

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:27 AM EDT
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More than four million adults experience at least 15 migraine days a month. But there are some things you can do to prevent a migraine attack.

About one in every eight people experiences migraines … throbbing headaches that can last for hours or even days.

Vincent Martin, MD, Professor of Medicine at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine says, “They get a variety of different symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and sometimes sensitivity to light and noise as well.”

But you may be able to thwart off a migraine episode by avoiding common triggers. First, pay attention to what you eat and drink. Common culprits include: caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, deli meats, and foods with MSG. Second, don’t skip meals. Fasting can bring on a migraine. Also …

“Stress is a big trigger. So not only when the stress comes on but also when the stress is gone. It’s called a let-down headache,” Dr. Martin explained.

Yoga and meditation may help you manage your stress levels. And remember, migraines are often triggered by a poor night’s sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. And if you feel a migraine coming on, turn off the lights, apply hot or cold compresses to your head or neck, and drink a small amount of caffeine. A recent study in Europe even found smelling or rubbing lavender oil for 15 minutes can relieve migraine symptoms.

There are also beta blockers like Inderal and Blocadren your doctor can suggest to help prevent a migraine episode. Other triggers for migraine include weather and hormonal changes.

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