How Do You Prevent An Attack?
Last updated: April 2023
Do you take measures to try to prevent a migraine on days that you know will be more demanding than usual? We know that migraine thrives on change, and often the heaviest emotional or logistical days are those that present a shift in our normal patterns. While many migraine attacks are inevitable, it's worth thinking of proactive preventative steps we can take to increase our chances of being there.
Do you take preventive migraine medications?
If you don't already have any medications you are using preventatively, consider talking to your doctor about taking a preventative medication if you get hit with frequent migraine attacks. There are many types of preventative treatments that can be taken on a regular (daily or monthly) basis. Even some rescue medications may be taken on an as-needed basis proactively on days that you know will be particularly demanding. Again, this may be something worth exploring with your doctor.
Do you stay hydrated?
Increasing your hydration the day before and during a day that will ask a lot of you is a good and natural way to decrease your chances of an attack. Oftentimes, we are hovering around being dehydrated due to the migraine medications we take, frequent vomiting, or just because we forget to keep sufficiently hydrated. This can make us more vulnerable to an attack.
Do you take a moment to breathe?
It never hurts to take a moment to focus on your breathing when in the midst of a demanding or stressful situation. Taking a few moments to count 1-2-3 on your inhalation and 1-2-3-4 on your exhalation can do a lot to bring you back to your center. Drop your shoulders and lengthen the back of your neck while doing so. We migraineurs tend to get all bunched up in our neck and shoulders from the frequent and intense pain.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Doing your best to get sufficient sleep is another way to strengthen your reserves and make you less vulnerable to a migraine attack.
Are you doing any light exercise?
While exercise can be a trigger for many migraineurs, aiming for a regular walk to keep the body moving, during which you focus on your breathing, is a good way to shore yourself up and make a migraine less likely.
Do you tell others about migraine?
Letting others know that you have migraine can be a way to ease anxiety when you are facing an especially stressful, unusual, or new-to-you situation. Either asking your circle of friends to check in with you on a big day by sending a friendly text can help put you at ease. Or if you are about to take on something you've never done before and have any anxiety about it (like giving a speech) or are going to an important event, it may help to notify the folks you are working with that you have migraine. Consider sending an email ahead of time to let them know that you have a complex neurological condition that can sometimes occur unexpectedly. Doing so may serve to release your stress about an attack occurring.
How about in the workplace?
I find that notifying colleagues in advance can help raise awareness about the issue overall and increase compassion and understanding. If you're worried about it, you can also think about making a backup plan ahead of time in case a migraine shows up, and you're unable to attend. Doing this can calm you down and sometimes decrease the likelihood of an attack occurring in the first place.
What are some strategies you employ to try to prevent an attack and increase your chances of showing up? Please share in the comment section below so that we may learn from you.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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