Most people are aware of the old saying “prevention is better than cure”. However, few migraine sufferers actually take time to think of how they could prevent migraine, relying for the most part on taking medication to ease the migraine after it has struck. This is understandable as migraine prevention is much easier said than done. The reason for this is that migraines can have so many diverse causes. In this article I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about migraine prevention.
How do I find out what causes my migraines?
You do this by finding out as much about your migraine attacks as possible. Most people have no idea if there are any common features about their migraines. The more you know about something the better able you are to counteract it.
What’s the best way to find out more about my migraines?
Keep a record of as many aspects of your day before the migraine began. Ask yourself such questions as:
• What time did it start?
• How long did it last?
• What did I eat or drink before the migraine began?
• Did I have any other sensations such as blurred vision, abdominal pain, nausea, numbness in the face or limbs, etc?
• Where was the headache located, e.g. at the temples (which side) or over the eyes?
• What was I doing before it started?
• How does this migraine compare with previous ones, e.g. is it more severe, less severe or about the same?
What do I do with this information?
You need to write all of these details down for each migraine attack you have until you have a record of at least four migraines. Then you will be able to look through your records trying to find a factor that crops up in all, or at least most, of them. For example, you might find that migraines seem to appear after you’ve eaten cheese, or after you have had a hard session in the gym. It may be that your migraine is stress related and you find that migraines occur after a period of anxiety.
What do I do when I’ve identified a common factor?
You need to eliminate the factor to see if your migraines are affected. With some factors, such as dietary ones, it is easy to cut them out of your life; you just stop eating or drinking them. Other things, anxiety for instance, are much harder to control.
What if my migraines stop or are not so severe?
Congratulations! You’ve found your own personal migraine “trigger” and if you keep it out of your life your migraines will be under control.
What if my migraines are just as bad and as frequent?
You will need to take another look at your migraine record to see if there is anything that you have missed or possibly add more questions about your day leading up to the migraine. You may need to go a little further back in time before the migraine attack as there might be a factor which takes more time to initiate a migraine.
You might find that there are two or even three potential “triggers” for migraines for you. If that turns out to be the case you must cut only one thing out at a time. You won’t be able to identify which one of them is the culprit otherwise.
Migraine prevention can make such a difference to your life that you owe it to yourself to give this a try.