Preventing or Relieving Migraines – Which?



This is a question that is asked repeatedly by doctors, health professionals and migraine sufferers.  There are ways to help alleviate symptoms once a migraine is coming on or has started.  Most migraine sufferers can feel a migraine coming on.  They often have what is called migraine with aura, which includes symptoms such as seeing spots or stars, lightheadedness, flashing lights and even temporary blindness.

Migraines can be caused by a number of things including lack of sleep, overexposure to light, lack of food/hunger, hormone issues, stress and/or anxiety.  Sometimes these triggers can be eliminated and at other times the migraines remain. 

If the migraines are triggered by foods such as caffeine, chocolate, nuts or other substances, it is important to eliminate them, however, in some instances, such as eliminating caffeine, it should be eliminated gradually.  If you are used to drinking several cups of coffee or several cola sodas per day, eliminating them all at once could cause more headaches and more severe headaches.  Doing so a little at a time, for instance drinking one less caffeine drink per day for a week, then two less, for the next week, and so on, until you are no longer using caffeine is a better way to eliminate it as a trigger.

Taking medications can help control migraines once they have begun or when you feel them coming on.  There are various medications available that work well on migraines, depending on the person who is taking them.  Other treatment such as biofeedback, stress relaxation techniques and other therapies can also help.

On the other end of the spectrum, prevention of migraines is the other viable option.  This can be done especially when there are hormonal issues that create migraines when they fluctuate.  If migraines occur in conjunction with menstrual cycles, they usually diminish or disappear once the menstrual cycle ceases. 

As researchers are learning more about the genetics and biology of migraines, there will be more ways to help provide relief or prevent them altogether.  In addition, there are already medications available that can help prevent and control migraines. 

It is simply a choice that you and your doctor or health professional can make together when determining whether it will be possible to prevent your migraines – which will always be the best choice – or simply try to control them and relieve a migraine once you have one.


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