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Stay one step ahead of migraines with these helpful tips.

HealthCheckAug2015Anyone who suffers from migraines can attest to the debilitating pain they ensue. And although medication is a proven way to treat and prevent frequent migraines, making healthy lifestyle choices can also help to stop a migraine before it starts.

Treatments – Steps You Can Take to Treat a Migraine

Turn Off the Lights
At the first sign of a migraine, it’s best to seek a calm environment. Because migraines can increase light and sound sensitivity, seek a dark, quiet room.

Apply Pressure
Gentle pressure on your scalp or temples can alleviate pain, as can a shoulder or neck massage.
Drink Caffeine In small amounts, caffeine during early stages of a migraine can relieve pain, or enhance the pain-reducing effects of acetaminophen or aspirin medications.

Go Hot and Cold
Ice packs have a numbing effect to dull pain, and heating pads can relax tense muscles. Experiment to see what works best for you.

Be Proactive – A Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Migraines

Establish a Sleep Schedule
Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, including weekends. Keep naps short, between 20 to 30 minutes.

Take Time to Relax
At the end of the day, do anything that helps you unwind. Listen to soft music, take a warm bath or read a book.

Eat Light at Night
Watch what you eat and drink before bedtime. Heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep.

Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary
Save your bedroom for sleep and intimacy. That means no TV or work materials in bed. Use a fan or white noise machine.

Don’t Skip Meals
Eating breakfast is especially important. If sit-down meals don’t work for you, make sure you are snacking on healthy foods regularly.

Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods, liked aged cheeses, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol may trigger migraines in some people.

Exercise Regularly
During exercise, your body releases chemicals that block pain signals to your brain, which also help alleviate anxiety and depression. Walking, swimming and cycling are often good choices that people of any fitness level can enjoy.

Manage Stress
Keep stress levels in check by managing your time and taking breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply for just 10 minutes each day.

Adjust Your Attitude
Positive thinking can help manage stress! Instead of thinking, “This can’t be done,” think, “This will be tough, but I can make it work.”

Keep a Migraine Diary
A migraine diary, in which you note when a migraine started, how long it lasted and whether anything provided relief, can be helpful for eventually avoiding them altogether.

Seek Support
Ask friends and loved ones for support. Talking to others can help alleviate stress. Joining a support group or seeking counseling can also be helpful.