In this blog, I will share with you seven strategies that I have learned for migraine prevention. This article is focused on how to prevent vestibular migraine in between episodes.
Sometimes people comment on my blogs asking me exactly what I do to take care of myself, once they learned that I’ve been suffering from dizziness and vertigo intermittently since childhood.
One of the reasons that I don’t talk a lot about exactly what I do for myself is because the vertigo treatment plan and the self-care strategies must be tailored to the specific root cause.
In order for interventions to be effective at relieving dizziness and vertigo, the best plan is to develop a treatment plan based on the root cause. Since I have suffered from recurrent migraines for over 30 years, I will share some of my personal strategies as we focus on migraine prevention in this blog.
Seven Strategies for Migraine Prevention
People that get any type of migraines have a brain that is very sensitive to certain “triggers.” If something happens that is triggering to your brain, then it can set off a migraine episode.
1. Set a Regular Bedtime
Setting a regular bedtime is helpful for migraine prevention. My integrative neurologist recommends being in bed by 10pm. Setting a regular wake-up time in the morning can also be helpful. If you don’t have to be up at a certain time, you can get out of bed whenever you wake up.
With regular bedtime, your brain can anticipate when it will be able to rest and have some downtime. Sleep deprivation is a migraine trigger and should be avoided if at all possible.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may need to seek out medical care from a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine. If you don’t think that your sleep problems are worthy of medical intervention, I have found that camping is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm.
2. Skip the Booze
Alcohol is a dehydrator and a migraine trigger for many people. Red wine specifically is a migraine trigger and should be avoided for people with migraines.
Any type of alcohol can dehydrate you and dehydration is a trigger for migraines. My suggestion is that you just skip it, so you can have a better quality of life.
If you know that you’re going to drink alcohol, don’t drink too much and prepare to have an episode of migraine the next day.
3. Manage Your Stress
Stress kills people. Plain and simple.
Stress is a trigger for migraine attacks, so stress management is an important part of migraine prevention. If someone specific is causing you stress, consider setting better boundaries with that person or making specific requests in dealing with them.
Stress can cause you to clench your jaw or tense up your neck, which can also trigger tension headaches. Stress management is a topic unto itself, so you can learn more if you suffer from stress and migraines.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is a good strategy for migraine prevention.
However, during a migraine episode exercise may cause your symptoms to feel worse. Exercise is not generally recommended during a migraine episode.
Regular cardiovascular exercise is recommended between migraine episodes as a strategy for migraine prevention.
5. Stay hydrated
You should drink water every day. For best absorption, add something to the water.
Adding a little something to plain water can help your intestines absorb it better, instead of allowing it to pass through.
For example, you can add a splash of organic lemon juice or cranberry juice. You can add a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt.
If it’s hot out or you are sweating a lot, you need water and electrolytes to stay hydrated.
Many electrolyte drinks such as sports drinks have a lot of sugar and may have artificial food coloring.
I personally like to use Keto Chow electrolyte drops to supplement my electrolytes on a daily basis and help me stay hydrated.
For a treat: I like to mix spring water, Keto Chow electrolytes, organic lemon juice, and organic monk fruit. I mix that all up in a mason jar for a refreshing sugar-free lemonade to stay hydrated on a hot day.
6. Drink Digestive Tea
When I switched to an integrative neurologist over 12 years ago, her first recommendation was for me to drink a full thermos of digestive tea every day for migraine prevention. That’s because she recognized a connection between the gut and migraines.
I used to buy the three ingredients separately and mix up my own digestive tea. However, in the last few years, I have discovered CCF tea from Banyan Botanicals, which is organic digestive tea that is ready to go.
When I get lazy and start skipping the digestive tea as a tool for migraine prevention, I noticed that the frequency and intensity of my migraine episodes go up.
When I remain focused on migraine prevention, and I take the time to make my digestive tea daily, I have fewer migraines and they are not as severe.
7. Avoid Food Triggers
Our gut affects our brain. Therefore certain foods can trigger migraines.
The food triggers may vary from person to person, but there are certain common culprits to avoid for migraine prevention.
For example, I already mentioned red wine as a common migraine trigger. Other common food triggers are chocolate and aged cheese like blue cheese.
For some people, MSG or monosodium glutamate can cause a migraine. Some people will get a migraine if they eat food with a lot of preservatives or chemicals added.
Whatever foods seem to be causing your migraine episodes should be avoided.
In this blog, I discuss the connection between the gut and vertigo in a lot of detail.
I hope these seven strategies for migraine prevention are helpful.
If you want to learn more about your personal migraine triggers, I recommend the book called “The Migraine Brain” by Dr. Carolyn Bernstein, M.D.
A close friend gave me a copy of that book in 2009 when it first came out. I found it very helpful to understand the importance of migraine prevention and how to identify my triggers.
Disclaimer: Please note that I shared links to two products that I personally use in this blog. This information was published in the context of personal sharing. I have no way to know if those products are safe or appropriate for your situation since I have not met you or evaluated your situation.
Also, I am not affiliated with those products and I do not make any money or benefit financially by sharing that information with you. I make no claim as to the quality of those products. They have been helpful to me. That is all I am saying!
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.