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Natural ways to prevent a migraine

Newlywed, new mom and first-time home buyer, Sarah is currently playing out her exciting life in Phoenix, Arizona. She recently gave up her job in finance to stay at home with her baby girl, who between bath time and feeding time, keeps ...

Stop the suffering

Anyone who suffers from migraines knows just how debilitating they can be. Though there can be ways to cure them once they’ve been brought on, we’re going to the source of the problem and finding some natural ways to prevent them.
Woman with migraine

A migraine is defined as a severe headache that often occurs on one side of the head only. It can be coupled with nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, blind spots and tingling in the arms and legs. It can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Once you get a migraine, it can be extremely difficult to find relief. Methods of getting rid of migraines include drinking caffeine, turning off the lights, doing aerobic exercise and putting a cool compress on your head. Most times, though, the migraine pain is so severe that none of these methods work. Instead of looking at treatments, let’s look at some natural measures we can take to prevent migraines, including some advice from Dr. Cathleen London.

Reduce stress

Stress is a common cause of migraines. Though it’s probably impossible to fully eliminate stress in today’s busy world, it’s important to reduce it as much as possible. Practice deep breathing, yoga and meditation. Don’t take on more than you can handle and learn to say “no.” Remember to take time out for yourself and think of the positives in your life.

Dr. London agrees that “stress reduction is huge — and the No. 1 thing that helps with stress reduction is exercise.”

For more on stress management, check out these simple stress-busting strategies >>

notepadKeep track of your migraines

Next time you get a migraine, record what you ate that day, what activities you did and your stress level. After a few recordings, you should notice some patterns and be able to eliminate the things that are increasing your chances of getting a migraine. Try to eliminate those foods or activities, and speak with your doctor about your findings.

Dr. London believes that “a headache journal is key — and for many women it is hormonal. The estrogen drop before menses and sometimes even the one that happens mid-cycle” can be causes of a migraine.

Eliminate migraine triggers

People who suffer from migraines know that certain things will trigger the onset of one. Triggers can vary from a specific activity, such as driving, to certain foods you eat, such as alcohol, citrus fruits or cheese. Be aware of these hidden triggers and avoid them if at all possible.

Dr. London states that “triggers include red wine (a common one), chocolate, smoky places and dehydration.”

Get your rest

Not only is sleep important, but it’s important for migraine sufferers to stick to a specific sleep schedule. Oversleeping can bring on migraines, as can not getting enough rest. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor about ways to treat insomnia and get more rest.

vitaminsTake specific vitamins and minerals

According to an article by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, in Psychology Today, it’s important to take your vitamins to prevent the onset of a migraine. He recommends 300 mg of vitamin B2 in the morning and 200 mg of magnesium at night. Make sure to also eat a diet rich in magnesium, including nuts, soybeans and spinach.

Dr. London states that “there is some data on magnesium in prevention and treatment of migraines; B vitamins can help with stress reduction and anemia can be a trigger — so make sure you are getting iron if you are a menstruating female.”

Hopefully, by utilizing some of these natural methods of preventing migraines, you’ll suffer from them less and be able to live a less painful life. Remember to always consult with your doctor about any medications or methods of treatment.

More on migraines

Migraines in kids
Migraines during pregnancy: Treatment and prevention tips
Migraines: 11 Ways not to treat a headache

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