We often hear patients who come into the clinic talking about the start of migraines as if they’re preparing for battle. What they want to know are ways to prevent migraines.
Often patients know that it’s coming due to the aura that they experience, such as dancing lights, spots of black or zigzag lines in their vision, and they feel helpless because they know what the oncoming pain will feel like, the length of time it takes to subside and the debilitating effect they have on their ability to complete work and their personal life.
So, a great question to ask is: What can I do to prevent migraines before they come on?
Here are 3 ways to prevent migraines that will help to reduce the occurrence of headaches or migraines:
Researchers recommend avoiding high-intensity exercise, but to aim for moderate-intensity exercise for 3 sessions per week for 30 minutes. It is also very important to make sure that you warm up beforehand so your head doesn’t get a sudden rush of blood at the start of exercise. Also, make sure you are hydrated and have eaten recently so your blood sugar levels don’t fall during the exercise. Some examples of exercise modalities can include brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, cycling, and dancing.
Identify triggers to your migraines – and then slowly desensitise to them
That’s right, you read it correctly! The traditional approach is to avoid triggers as much as you can, however, new literature has emerged that patients who slowly expose themselves over time to the triggers have a desensitising effect, rendering them more resilient to what would normally induce their headaches and migraines, such as red wine, coffee, bright lights and loud sounds.
We’re not suggesting you go and surround yourself with these triggers, but exposing yourself while you don’t have a migraine to a small, manageable level has been found to reduce the impact of this stimulus.
Improve your posture
Up to 94% of headaches are located by dysfunction to the brainstem, so the best way to relieve this pressure is to stand up tall with your shoulders back, improve the strength of your postural muscles through targeted strengthening, and to not let your head jut forwards, keeping it back and aligned with the rest of your spine.
In summary, three of the best ways to prevent a migraine or headache while you don’t have any symptoms are to complete the moderate exercise, slowly desensitise to your triggers, and most importantly, to improve your posture to reduce the amount of pressure on your neck.
What are my next steps?
In order to address the root cause of your migraines, it is recommended that headache and migraine sufferers consult a headache clinician.
Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinics provide expert advice to assess, diagnose and potentially offer treatment for all headaches and migraine types.
Please enquire to meet with a friendly Headache Clinician and take back your life today!