Doctor Tips on What to Avoid With Migraines

What if you could ask some of the best migraine doctors in the country for tips on how to get your headaches under control? We did!

First, stop blaming yourself

“Patients come to me and say, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have had that glass of wine when I went out to dinner,’ or ‘I shouldn’t have stayed up so late. “A lot of my migraine sufferers are type A and are very successful and high achievers. I tell them it’s okay to make mistakes now and then. You can’t prevent migraines 100%. Letting yourself go only increases your stress levels, and we We know that stress is the main cause of migraines.”

Mary Ann Mays, MD

Drop the extra pounds

We’ve known for a while that obese people are more likely to get migraines. They are also more likely to have chronic migraines, which means they get at least eight migraines per month. One theory is that excess fat cells produce inflammatory proteins that cause this headache. The good news is that if you lose weight, research shows that your migraines will improve.”

Alan Rapoport, MD

Get rid of the “headache diet”

About 30% of migraine patients have at least one food trigger. But the list of foods that are likely to cause major problems. Also, most information about food triggers is anecdotal, not based on studies. That’s why I don’t advise my patients to follow a specific “headache” diet or avoid certain foods. Why force them to avoid things they enjoy, when they might not even be motivating in the first place? Instead, on the days they get a headache, I make them think about what they have eaten in the past 24 hours. If any of the foods are on their trigger list, they can avoid them for a few weeks to see if that makes a difference.”

Merle Diamond, MD

Get treatment

“It sounds obvious, but it really isn’t. More than half of people who get migraines are never diagnosed. They are at home, treating their headaches with over-the-counter medications. But that’s bad. First, they live with debilitating pain when they don’t need it.” Second, they end up taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen several times a week, which can lead to what is known as medication overuse headaches.This in itself becomes a huge headache to deal with. Your primary care doctor is a good start, but if you don’t find relief, see a headache specialist.”

Mary Ann Mays, MD

Think Complementary Medicine

“There are some supplements that I recommend to my patients. There is no panacea, but it can sometimes help with traditional prescribed medications. They include:

  • Butterbur. The usual dose is 50-75 milligrams twice a day. I personally have not found it very effective in my practice, although one of my most challenging patients swears it was cured of it
  • Magnesium 400 milligrams a day
  • Melatonin, taken an hour or so before bedtime to regulate sleep
  • Coenzyme Q10. Usually, 300 milligrams a day
  • Vitamin B2, 400 milligrams per day

Usually, I start with one for my patients, and if they don’t respond, I add a second. And if they still don’t respond but don’t have any side effects, then I add a third.”

Alan Rapoport, MD

Make a plan for the headache

“The better, the less likely you are to end up in the emergency room. A lot of my patients need a three-way strategy. The first prong is an acute medication such as a prescription triptan or ergot, which should be taken as soon as you feel the headache has started. Then there’s a rescue medication, Like a strong prescription NSAID, which you’ll take if that first one doesn’t work.Finally, if you have more than eight headaches per month, you’ll probably need to take a preventative medication like a beta-blocker or a CGRP antagonist.If you’re still down In the emergency room after all this, or if you miss work because of your headaches, you need to see your headache specialist again to come up with a better plan.”

Merle Diamond, MD


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