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Tips To Prevent Migraine

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Tips To Prevent Migraine

4 min read


Migraine progresses through different stages before getting the headache. This article discusses some tips that can be followed to prevent migraine.

Written by

Dr. Divakara. P

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At June 18, 2015
Reviewed AtDecember 29, 2023


Migraine is a controllable condition and not a curable one, but it is preventable. Severe pain is the hallmark of migraines, a kind of headache that is frequently accompanied by additional symptoms like nausea, light sensitivity, and visual disturbances. The intensity of this headache varies even in the same patient. Although the precise cause of migraines is still unknown, many risk factors and triggers have been found. A variety of migraine prevention strategies to incorporate, from dietary considerations and stress management methods to lifestyle changes.

What Are the Types of Migraine?

There are several types of migraines, and they can vary in symptoms and characteristics. Some common types include:

  • Migraine Without Aura: This is the most common type, characterized by moderate to severe headache pain that is usually on one side of the head, along with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Migraine With Aura: Some individuals experience warning signs or auras before the migraine headache begins. Auras can include visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or zigzag lines, and other neurological symptoms.
  • Chronic Migraine: Diagnosed when a person experiences a migraine headache on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, and at least eight of those headaches are migraines.
  • Menstrual Migraine: Migraines that occur during a woman's menstrual cycle, typically during or just before menstruation.
  • Vestibular Migraine: Involves dizziness and problems with balance, along with the typical migraine symptoms.
  • Cluster Headaches: Intensely painful headaches that occur in clusters or groups, often at the same time of day or night, and accompanied by symptoms such as red or tearing eyes and nasal congestion.
  • Retinal Migraine: Rare type characterized by temporary vision loss or blindness in one eye.

How Does Migraine Progress?

Stage 1: Prodrome

  • This stage comes one or two days before the headache starts.

  • Mood swings, agitation, food cravings, increased thirst, and stiff neck are possible symptoms.

  • Certain individuals might perceive imperceptible indicators that a migraine is about to occur.

Stage 2: Aura

  • An aura may come up ahead of or during a migraine. Auras can take many different forms, but they are typically visual.

  • Light bursts or jagged or wavy lines could be visible. In addition, an uncontrollable jerking, hearing noises or music, having trouble speaking, having trouble moving one side of the body or face, or being unable to see clearly.

Stage 3: Headache

  • This phase accompanies severe headacheinconjunctionwithsensitivitytolight.

Stage 4: Post- drome Phase:

  • It usually takes a day or two to get relief from the fatigue.

  • Symptoms are similar to the first phase.

  • Some may feel fresh after the headache eases.

How Is Migraine Managed?

Managing migraine sometimes needs a multifaceted approach. Here are some tips to manage migraine at each stage.

Stage 1: Prodrome

  • Recognize the triggers and try to avoid them.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Stage 2: Aura

  • Some don’t have this aura. If present, find a quiet place and practice relaxation techniques.

Stage 3: Headache

  • Take medicines like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and anti-emetics to ease the symptoms.

  • Some may benefit from acupuncture.

What Are the Steps to Prevent Migraine?

Preventing migraines often involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, identifying and avoiding triggers, and, in some cases, medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.

  • Always have a good night's sleep. At least seven hours at a stretch in the night. If having problems with sleep, consult the doctor, but make sure to get that sound sleep.

  • Never starve, don’t skip morning breakfast. An empty stomach is a strong trigger for migraine attacks. Always keep a small snack so the next meal does not get delayed or skipped.

  • Having a balanced diet, Consistent hydration and a regular sleep cycle works better.

  • Try to find some migraine-triggering foods like chocolates, sour items, lemon, tamarind, vinegar, wine, sweets, etc. This varies from person to person. Patients are getting an attack on having cold water, chilled beer, ice creams, etc. And find this association, avoid those food items.

  • Try to find out some migraine-triggering smells. Some examples are the smell of perfume, deodorant, sandalwood or sandal oil smell, smell of incense sticks, flowers like roses, jasmine, etc. If associating any of these smells with the attack, then avoid them.

  • Late-night Watching: Avoid watching late-night television shows or movies in theaters.

  • Beat the Stress: Manage the stress at home and work. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.

  • Menses is also one of the migraine triggers.

  • Under the supervision of a doctor, hormonal therapy may be beneficial for women who experience migraines associated with changes in their hormone levels.

  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.

  • Avoid public gatherings where louder speakers and brighter lights are kept. Louder sounds and brighter lights may trigger migraines.

  • Botox injections can be used in chronic migraines.

  • Maintain a migraine diary so that triggers and last episodes can be recorded.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by indulging in physical activity.

In What Ways Migraine Therapy Can Be Stopped?

Migraine therapy is typically stopped following a careful assessment by the healthcare provider. The process may involve gradually reducing the dosage of preventive medications. Here are common steps:

1. Assessment: The healthcare provider evaluates the migraine history, frequency, and overall health to determine if it’s appropriate to stop therapy.

2. Tapering: If the decision is made to stop, a gradual reduction in the dosage to minimize the risk of migraine recurrence.

3. Monitoring: Regular follow-up appointments help monitor the progress and assess any changes in migraine patterns or symptoms.

4. Lifestyle Management: The healthcare providers may emphasize lifestyle modifications and non-pharmacological approaches to help manage migraines after discontinuing medication.

Always consult the healthcare provider before making any changes to the migraine therapy, and follow their guidance for a safe and effective transition.


Migraine is a complex neurological condition characterized by severe headaches with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light. Through a combination of medication, trigger management, and lifestyle adjustments, people can effectively manage their migraines and enhance their general quality of life. A comprehensive and individualized strategy, guided by medical experts, is essential for effectively managing the difficulties posed by migraines.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can migraines be prevented naturally?

Some simple ways to prevent migraine attacks are:  
- Avoid eating foods that trigger a migraine such as chocolate, cheese, alcohol, dairy products, processed foods, and cold items.  
- Do not skip meals.  
- Avoid smoking.  
- Maintain a normal sleep pattern.  
- Manage stress.


What are the foods that prevent migraines?

The food items that do not trigger migraines are:
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots.
- Brown rice.
- Fruits.
- Natural sweeteners like maple syrup.


Are coffee and other caffeinated beverages good for migraines?

Most people feel better after drinking a strong cup of coffee when they have a headache. This is because of caffeine present in the coffee. But people who get migraines should stay clear of coffee or other caffeinated beverages. This is because consuming two to three cups of coffee every day might develop a dependency, which increases the frequency of migraine attacks.


What can I use to get rid of a migraine?

Apart from taking your medicines, you can try the following ways to get rid of a migraine:
- Apply a cold pack or hot compress.
- Try massaging your head and neck.
- Avoid sitting in rooms that are brightly lit.
- Stretch and perform yoga and meditation.


What needs to done and avoided for migraine patients?

- Skip meals.
- Exercise a lot and tire yourself.
- Go out in the hot climate.
- Spend too much time looking at digital screens.
- Grind your teeth together.
- Drink too much alcohol.
- Smoke.
- Stick to a sleep routine.
- Limit the intake of coffee.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Keep a treatment plan ready for pain during periods or menopause.
- Manage stress.
- Keep your surroundings clean to prevent bad odor.


How can I prevent a migraine attack?

By identifying and avoiding the following triggers, you can decrease the frequency of migraine attacks:
- Bright light.
- Loud noise.
- Food like wine, chocolate, and cheese.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Stress.
- Too much physical activity.
- Hormonal changes.


How does a migraine feel like?

A migraine usually causes severe pulsating or throbbing kind of pain on one side of the head (unilateral headache). Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound are usually accompanied by a migraine attack.


How long does a migraine attack last?

A typical migraine attack can last from anywhere between 4 and 72 hours. If you have a severe headache even after 3 days, consult a doctor immediately.


Why causes a migraine?

The exact cause and mechanism of migraine are still not known, but it is believed to be caused by abnormal brain activity. This change in brain activity affects the blood vessels and the way nerves communicate in the brain.


How are migraines diagnosed?

Migraine is usually diagnosed based on the symptoms and after all other possible causes are ruled out with the help of an MRI or CT scan.
Dr. Divakara. P
Dr. Divakara. P

Internal Medicine


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