ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than four million adults experience at least 15 migraine days a month. But there are some things you can do to prevent a migraine attack.
About one in every eight people experiences migraines … throbbing headaches that can last for hours or even days.
Vincent Martin, MD, Professor of Medicine at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine says, “They get a variety of different symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and sometimes sensitivity to light and noise as well.”
But you may be able to thwart off a migraine episode by avoiding common triggers. First, pay attention to what you eat and drink. Common culprits include: caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, deli meats, and foods with MSG. Second, don’t skip meals. Fasting can bring on a migraine. Also …
“Stress is a big trigger. So not only when the stress comes on but also when the stress is gone. It’s called a let-down headache,” Dr. Martin explained.
Yoga and meditation may help you manage your stress levels. And remember, migraines are often triggered by a poor night’s sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. And if you feel a migraine coming on, turn off the lights, apply hot or cold compresses to your head or neck, and drink a small amount of caffeine. A recent study in Europe even found smelling or rubbing lavender oil for 15 minutes can relieve migraine symptoms.
There are also beta blockers like Inderal and Blocadren your doctor can suggest to help prevent a migraine episode. Other triggers for migraine include weather and hormonal changes.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
MIGRAINE TRIGGERS TO AVOID
BACKGROUND: About 12 percent of Americans get migraines, and women are three times more likely than men to get them. Most people with migraines have family members who have migraines, or have other medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and epilepsy. Migraines are a recurring type of headache that cause moderate to severe pain resulting in a throbbing or pulsing sensation. The pain is often on one side of your head. You may also have other symptoms, such as nausea and weakness, and may be sensitive to light and sound. Researchers believe that migraines have a genetic cause. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will take your medical history, ask about symptoms, and do a physical and neurological exam. An important part of diagnosing migraines is to rule out other medical conditions, so your doctor may also prescribe blood tests, an MRI or CT scan, or other tests.
STEPS FOR MIGRAINE PREVENTION: Medication is a proven way to both treat and prevent migraines, but it is only part of the story. It’s important to take good care of yourself and understand how to cope with migraine pain when it strikes. The same lifestyle choices that promote overall good health can also reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines. Migraines often increase sensitivity to light and sound. It’s best to relax in a dark, quiet room, and sleep if you can. You can try applying hot or cold compresses to your head or neck. Ice packs have a numbing effect, which may dull the sensation of pain. Hot packs and heating pads can relax tense muscles. Sometimes, a caffeinated beverage in small amounts can relieve migraine pain in the early stages. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day is important in the prevention of migraines. You can always listen to soothing music, soak in a warm bath or read a favorite book to help you relax. Try to simplify your life and don’t squeeze a ton of activities or chores into the day. Stay positive and find time to do something you enjoy for at least 15 minutes every day. Finally, taking deep breaths and focusing on inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply for at least 10 minutes every day can help in migraine prevention.
NEW DRUGS ARE A GAME CHANGER: Erenumab is one of four monoclonal antibodies, manufactured proteins that can bind to substances in the body, that have been approved since 2018 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent migraines. The antibodies inhibit the action of a neurotransmitter called calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, either by changing the peptide’s shape or attaching to its receptors in the brain. The drugs have changed the game for some migraine sufferers. “Roughly half of people who took one of the four drugs in clinical trials saw at least a 50 percent reduction in monthly migraines,” says neurologist David Dodick, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Doctors are welcoming the new drugs because they can work better and have much fewer side effects than other options. “It’s really beneficial for improving quality of life in our patients with migraines. The new drugs don’t cause weight gain, sleepiness, or brain fog,” says neurologist Nina Riggins, MD, PhD, a headache specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
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