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Migraine Headache Triggers, Treatment and Prevention

Updated on September 9, 2013

Migraine headache is another common type of headache. This headache usually hurts in the front of the head, with an occasional painful spot on the side of the head near the temples. Even when the whole head seems involved, many people complain of throbbing pain. A migraine almost never lasts for more than 48 hours, and most people have no problems or head pain in between attacks of migraines.

Most people who get migraine headaches complain of seeing an aura – a halo of light around objects. They also suffer from nausea and vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light. Some even complain of diarrhea.


Migraine Headache Triggers, Prevention and Treatment

  • Try to figure out your migraine headache triggers – foods and situations are major factors. The best way to do is to keep a careful diary. When you get a migraine headache, get your journal and write down all the foods you ate in the past two days, what you did during those two days before the headache started and any other information that you think might play a part in your migraine headache trigger. Women also include dates of their menstrual periods because hormonal changes can definitely trigger migraines. The study the diary after you’ve recorded information about several headaches and try to determine what the common factor(s) is or are. When you think you have identified the triggers, try to avoid them and see if your headaches decrease in frequency or intensity. Some common foods that often trigger migraines are chocolates, caffeinated drinks, salty foods and alcoholic drinks.

  • Try to sleep it off. Migraine headaches rarely last more than 48 to 72 hours. Often a good sleep will be enough to clear it up quickly.

  • Avoid bright lights. Bright lights, especially direct sunlight, aggravate the pain of migraine headache. Instead, try to stay in dimly lit rooms. If you must go outside, wear dark sunglasses and maybe even a wide-brimmed hat.

  • Decide which works best for you: heat or cold. Some people get relief from ice packs on their heads and cool compresses on their foreheads. Others get more relief from warn compresses and heating pads. Try both and pick the one that seems to help you the most. Some people find that alternating heat and cold helps relieve their headache pain.

  • Try an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin or acetaminophen. If your headaches are extremely severe, your doctor can prescribe a pain reliever with greater strength. Always take the pain reliever as soon as the headache starts. This will help prevent the headache from getting worse.

  • Try drinking clear, carbonated beverages like ginger ale or Sprite to soothe your upset stomach that triggers your migraine.

  • If your migraine headaches cause vomiting or diarrhea, drink plenty of clear liquids to keep from getting dehydrated. You can buy over-the-counter medications to help relieve the diarrhea and vomiting.


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