How To Prevent Migraines
Anyone who suffers with migraines, regularly or infrequently, will know how much they can affect your quality of life. Severe migraines can stop you from carrying out your usual daily tasks, and the after effects such as tiredness can last for up to a week afterwards.
As well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying well hydrated, we’ve outlined three things you can do to help prevent migraines.
Identify and avoid your triggers
Many people find their migraines are caused by a trigger. Examples of migraine triggers include:
Specific foods such as chocolate and cheese
You can read a longer list of triggers on the NHS website. If you work out what your triggers are, you can try your best to avoid them.
Work out your triggers by keeping a migraine diary. Note down the date and time of your migraine, your symptoms (including any warning signs or aura), any medication you took and how long the attack lasted. You should also think about what you ate and drank, how you were feeling and if you were doing a particular activity.
When you’ve looked at all this, you might be able to work out what your migraine triggers are. Then you can take steps to avoid your trigger as much as possible and hopefully prevent any migraines.
Take preventative medication
Preventative medications are available and are generally prescribed to those who still get severe or frequent migraines even after cutting out their triggers. Examples of preventative medications are:
Topiramate (initially just used to prevent seizures in epileptics and now also to prevent migraines.)
Propranolol (traditionally used to treat angina or high blood pressure, but also effective for preventing migraines.)
Botulinum toxin type A (botox)
Your doctor can advise you further on the medication that may work for your individual situation.
If you find medication ineffective for preventing migraines, you could consider trying acupuncture. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests that people who are prone to migraines might benefit from 10 sessions of acupuncture over a 5-8 week period.
A number of trials were carried out, comparing acupuncture to no specific preventative treatment. After 3-4 months, those receiving acupuncture had fewer migraines. One study looked at the long term effects after the treatment had stopped and actually found that there was no evidence that the positive effects faded. Acupuncture was found to be a useful preventative measure for at least 3 months and more effective than preventative medication.