The cause of a migraine is up for debate. Some experts think it may be due to…let’s stop right there! We know that when you have one, you don’t care why you have it, you just want it to disappear! With the pain and discomfort, your first thought is probably to take medication, but prescription migraine medications are expensive and have side effects. So here are some practical ways to prevent migraine:
1. Change your diet. Foods that can trigger a migraine include: cheese, red wine, chocolate, caffeine and even egg whites. It’s important to know which of these is your specific migraine trigger. So, it’s a good idea to keep a food diary and when you feel a migraine coming on, you’ll be able to check what you ate.
Certain chemicals that are found in food and drinks can trigger a migraine. Make sure that you check the food and/or drink label. These are some of the most common additives:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in canned vegetables, processed meats and soups
- Sodium nitrate, found in cured meats and poultry
- Sugar-free fizzy drinks containing the sweetener, Aspartame
2. Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise such as running, jogging and swimming can help to reduce the number, duration and frequency of migraines. So, make sure that you get your daily dose!
3. Limit exposure to bright light. If your job requires you to use a computer for most of the day, change the brightness setting. There are also special anti-glare light bulbs that you can install in your home. When you’re outdoors, it’s a good idea to wear anti-glare sunglasses.
4. Sleep soundly. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Frequent changes in your sleep pattern, whether it’s too much or too little sleep can trigger a migraine. When it’s time to go bed, don’t watch something on your laptop; this is a disruption and increases your exposure to light.
5. Try alternative remedies. Take a warm bath or shower; a nap, or go for a walk. Ask someone to rub your neck and back, or you can go to a spa and treat yourself to a massage. Acupuncture has also been shown to be an effective treatment.
Migraines are unbearable, but you can reduce their frequency. If none of these preventative measures help you, it’s best to visit your doctor because the migraine may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition.