fan
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Cool It Down

Put an ice pack on your forehead, scalp, or neck to get pain relief. Experts aren't sure exactly why it works, but reducing the flow of blood might be part of it. You can also try a frozen gel pack or a wash cloth that's been rinsed in cold water.

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over the counter painkiller
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Over-the-Counter Drugs

You don't need a prescription to get painkillers called NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen. They cut down the inflammation that makes your head hurt. You can also buy migraine remedies that have a mix of acetaminophen and aspirin.

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cup of coffee
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Caffeine

It's an ingredient in coffee and some other foods and drinks, and it may give you some mild relief. It could also help your body absorb some migraine drugs faster. But go easy. You can get dependent on your caffeine jolt, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and more headaches.

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dark quiet room
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A Dark, Quiet Room

Bright light and loud noises can make your headache worse. So find a spot away from the action and pull down the shades when you've got a migraine. It can help speed up your recovery.

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woman tying running shoe
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Exercise

Don't try it when you're in the middle of a migraine attack, because it can make you hurt more. But when you feel well, a regular workout can prevent headaches. It makes your body release endorphins, chemicals that fight pain. It also eases stress and helps you sleep better.

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spinach leaves
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Magnesium

You find this mineral in dark-green veggies, whole grains, and nuts. It won't help while you're having a migraine, but some studies show it could prevent one. You can also take it in pill form, but always check with your doctor before you take supplements.

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refreshed woman waking up
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Sleep Well

Get some regular shut-eye to help stave off migraines. Too little -- or too much -- can trigger headaches and lower your threshold for pain. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

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man in forward bend
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Yoga

Exercise that gets your heart pumping can prevent migraines, but it can also be a headache trigger for some people. This activity, though, with its slower movements, is a safe alternative. Research shows that regular yoga sessions cut the number of attacks you get and make them less intense when they do happen.

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fresh raw salmon
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Vitamin B2

It's also called riboflavin, and you can find it in milk, cheese, fish, and chicken. You can also take it as a pill. Studies show it may help you prevent migraines.

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wine and cheese
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Manage Your Triggers

Your migraines are sometimes set off by the food you eat or the conditions around you. Find out what brings on your pain and avoid it. Some common trouble spots on the menu are red wine, aged cheese, and cured meats. Bright lights, staying at a high altitude, and strong odors can also be issues.

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dried butterbur
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Butterbur

People have used this plant for years to treat pain. Does it work to prevent migraines? When researchers looked at all the evidence, they found that taking the extract reduced the number and intensity of headaches for some people.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 02/25/2016 Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on February 25, 2016

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

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SOURCES:

Sprouse-Blum, A. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health, July 2013.

Association of Migraine Disorders.

American Headache Society Committee for Education.

Burstein, R. Journal of Neuroscience, April 29, 2015.

Gelfand, A. Pediatric Neurology, October 2012.

Sasannejad, P. European Neurology, published online April 17, 2012.

Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

S. Holland, Neurology, April 24, 2012.

Kisan, R. International Journal of Yoga, July-Dec. 2014.

Chaibi, A. Journal of Headache Pain, published online Feb. 5, 2011.

National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Pradalier, A. Cephalalgia, October 2001.

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on February 25, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.