Migraine Prevention: Three Simple Tips for Avoiding Migraines
Headaches! Ugh! When your head hurts it is difficult to think about anything else. The throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head, pain behind your eyes, nausea, vomiting, and even annoyances that normally go unnoticed are totally intensified such as sensitivity to light, noise, and even smell. Pop in some pain meds right? Not so fast. Rebound headaches (also known as medication overuse headaches) are very common among those who get migraines frequently and can result in chronic daily headaches. So, the goal is to figure out how to prevent migraines before they even start.
3 Important Avenues for Preventing Migraines
1. Steer Clear of Triggers: We learn a lot in life by trial and error. If you have eaten certain foods that trigger a migraine, it only makes sense to do your best to avoid that food. Common culprits include beer, red wine, chocolate, aspartame, too much caffeine, aged cheeses, salty foods, and processed foods. Also, there has been several studies done that suggest that there is a connection between migraines and gluten sensitivity. In fact, 4 % of migraine sufferers have celiac disease, a condition in which the body processes gluten incorrectly.
What about the Paleo Diet for Preventing Migraines?
The Paleo diet encourages followers to get back to their roots as hunters and gathers and consume a diet that includes a generous amount of lean proteins, (ideally grass-fed meat, free range fowl, and wild caught fish), seasonal fruits and vegetables, high in antioxidants and nutrients, and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil). The diet completely eliminates all grains, cereals, dairy products, starchy vegetables, processed and refined foods and sugars, as well as soft drinks and alcohol. The Paleo diet is set up to eliminate most of the exact foods in one’s diet that have been proven to trigger migraines, including gluten.
Aside from diet, other triggers can be avoided by developing a routine that includes regular meals, controlled stress levels, and regular sleep patterns.
2. Work Out Regularly: One thing that can help prevent migraines is regular exercise. Exercising is a great way to reduce tension. Be sure to choose an aerobic activity such as cycling, swimming, or walking that you enjoy and that you will be consistent with. (It’s always a good idea to discuss your exercise plan with your doctor to develop a program that best fits your health needs).
Note: Ease into your exercise routine with a good warm-up as sudden intense exercise can cause a migraine.
Obesity is also thought to contribute to migraine headaches. Regular exercise can work to improve body composition and shed unwanted weight.
3. Decrease Effects of Estrogen: For some people, estrogen can contribute to migraines, or make them worse. Working with your doctor to avoid or reduce medications containing estrogen may help in migraine prevention.
How to Monitor Progress
You can monitor progress by setting goals in the areas of frequency, level of pain, and how long the migraine lasts. Ask yourself these questions: Am I no longer getting migraines? Am I getting migraines less frequently? Has there been a decrease in the painfulness of the migraine? Am I getting migraines less often than I used to?
Migraines can be positively debilitating. They can suck the life right out of you. By being aware of and avoiding triggers, especially in our diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding or reducing estrogen containing medications, if possible, you may be able to say good bye to migraines forever. Plus, by trying these steps to prevent migraines, you will reap all the other benefits that come from eating right and exercising such as better heart health, weight control, better mood, higher energy levels, and better self-confidence!
Migraine: Causes. Retrieved on May 27, 2012 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/ds00120/dsection=causes
Migraine: Prevention. Retrieved on May 27, 2012 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/DS00120/DSECTION=prevention
Paleolithic Diet. Retrieved on January 19, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet#History
Prevention of Migraines. Retrieved on May 27, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_migraines