Patient Blogs | Migraine
Headache Prevention: What Do I Do to Stop an Attack?
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Migraine episodes are different for everyone. One person's triggers could be another person's relief. I'm a South Florida native, and while I love salt air and sunshine, I enjoy “my happy place” in doses.

Some of my friends can stay in the hot sun all day, but the intense heat triggers an episode for me. You’ll find me in my year-round happy place -- any place with air-conditioning. Cool air has always provided me comfort, even as a child.

One way I can tell when I'm going to have an attack is because my prodrome phase (early stage and symptoms of any condition) consists of increased appetite, excessive energy, and mood swings. So when I started keying in on these patterns, I developed some prevention methods that you might also find helpful. 

Remember your creature comforts when traveling and try to replicate that as much as possible. Did you know some people book connecting flights on purpose as a migraine prevention measure? Avoiding direct flights allows you to make unexpected adjustments because you never know who bathed in perfume before boarding your flight. Another upside is that connecting flights are typically cheaper. 

I hate how often I hear that people are afraid to be honest with people about their migraine episodes for fear of being misunderstood, perceived as just attention-seeking, or even being dramatic. Be completely honest about your condition if you travel with family and friends. Do whatever helps you minimize the effects of stress. Letting people in your circle know you’re a migraine warrior ahead of a big trip is a safety precaution.  

My friend has terrible episodes, including migraine auras (basically slight to mild hallucinations). So for her, protein is an excellent remedy. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to seafood, but she favors tuna because she says it's the most potent.  

I am a remote worker. And while I love not having migraine episodes triggered by fluorescent lights, it can blur the lines of a healthy work-life balance. So to help eliminate stress and remind me to be active, I set timers on my phone to remind me to get up, walk around, and stretch. I also give the reminders motivational titles. It's been a big help with keeping my mindset positive. 

Sometimes, I wonder if worrying about an attack can cause one. So as a prevention tactic, to eliminate stress and distract an overthinking mind, I set up a Velcro nerf target at least 10 yards away and take potshots at it every once in a while. It allows your eyes to relax from the strain of sitting through never-ending virtual meetings. 

Sometimes it feels like I can't eat anything, but I remind myself that it will only make an upcoming episode worse. People always tell you to eat and stay hydrated because it's consistently helpful for migraine warriors.

I've had migraine episodes since my teens, and I am still on my trial-and-error journey of trying to find the best preventive migraine method for me. So I'm curious to hear what has worked for you!

Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.



Photo Credit: MangoStar_Studio / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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Naki Carter

Naki Carter

Diagnosed since 2001

For nearly 20 years, Naki Carter has been living with migraine. Formerly an award-winning journalist, she is committed to ending the stigma around the invisible illness. Carter lives in South Florida near lots of family and friends, where she enjoys a daily dose of “vitamin sea.” Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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