Doubling down on good health habits helps prevent some migraines. Don’t skip meals. Drink plenty of water. Be consistent about coffee, and you may not have to give it up.
Sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night; you’re more likely to have a migraine with less than 6 hours or more than 9. Regular exercise, especially cardio, will boost endorphins. Ease into your workouts with a warmup and end with a cool-down.
Having more of these in your diet may help prevent migraines:
- Magnesium, a mineral in greens, grains, nuts, and seeds
- CoQ10, an antioxidant in fatty fish and whole grains
- Riboflavin, a B vitamin in milk and beef
- Melatonin, a brain hormone that regulates sleep, in many plant-based foods like tomatoes, olives, walnuts, barley, and rice
Ask your doctor before you take them as supplements though.
Monitor and Manage Stress
Write down your stress level at the end of each day. When it’s higher than normal (a sign that a migraine is likely), ask your doctor if it’s a good idea to take your migraine medication. This may help you avoid getting one.
Yoga is great for easing stress. If you do it regularly, like 5 times a week, you may also get fewer migraines. Choose a gentle style like hatha or yin, not a challenging one like Iyengar or hot yoga.
Migraine Prevention Medication
If you don’t respond to other treatments and you have more than 4 migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest preventive medicines. You can take these regularly to reduce the severity or frequency of the headaches.
These include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines (like beta blockers and calcium channel blockers), and some antidepressants. CGRP inhibitors are a new class of preventive medicine that your doctor may recommend if other medicines don’t help.
If you have chronic migraine, a series of onabotulinumtoxinA injections could give you relief for a few months. You’ll get shots under the skin or into the muscles around your head, neck, and shoulders to interrupt the nerve signals for pain so you have fewer attacks. It doesn’t work right away, it doesn’t work for everyone, and it can be expensive.
Hand-held gadgets send magnetic or electrical signals to certain nerves in your brain. Depending on the unit, you simply place it on your head or neck for a few minutes at a time. Over time, you may get fewer migraines and need less migraine medicine.
If it’s legal where you live, using a strain high in CBD may help prevent migraines. There is some limited research available that suggests CDB may help prevent migraines, but more research is needed.
Most migraines start with at least one symptom hours or even a day before a headache sets in. Common ones are yawning, a change in mood or irritability, fatigue, neck ache, and sensitivity to light. Take your migraine medication as soon as you notice any of these signs, and you may be able to prevent a full-blown attack.