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What Is a Migraine Without Aura?

How Can Migraines Without Aura Be Prevented? continued...

Cefaly. Cefaly is the first FDA-approved device for preventing migraines in people over age 18. The portable headband-like device gives electrical impulses on the skin at the forehead. This stimulates a nerve associated with migraine headaches. Cefaly is used once a day for 20 minutes, and when it's on you'll feel a tingling or massaging sensation.  

Keeping a headache diary. Keeping a headache diary will help you identify anything that might trigger migraines. Diary entries should include the date and time of the headache, any foods you ate, activities you participated in, and medication you took just before the headache began. It may take six to eight weeks or longer to begin to see patterns and triggers.

Avoiding common food triggers. Use information from your diary and trial and error to determine if any of these foods might be causing your migraines.

  • chocolate
  • cheese
  • red wine or other alcohol
  • citrus fruits
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • raisins
  • plums
  • artificial sweeteners
  • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • ice cream or other cold foods

Avoiding medication triggers. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can trigger migraines. Check with your doctor if you think any of these may lead to your headaches.

  • cimetidine
  • estrogen
  • hydralazine
  • nifedipine
  • nitroglycerin
  • ranitidine
  • reserpine

Relieving psychological triggers. Stress, depression, anxiety, and even strong feelings such as grief from losing someone you love can trigger migraines. Although you can’t control all these factors, you can learn to control your response. Relaxation, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis techniques can be effective in relieving and preventing migraines, especially in children.

Reducing physical triggers. Illness, missing meals, and being too tired can all trigger migraines. So can physical exertion, motion, and head injuries. Even menstruation can trigger migraines. Reduce the effect of physical triggers by trying to identify them, keeping a regular routine, being sure to treat illnesses quickly, and taking steps to avoid other physical triggers.

Looking for environmental triggers. Some people are sensitive to flickering lights, fluorescent lights, changes in air pressure or altitude, or even bold visual patterns. Use your headache diary to identify any environmental triggers -- and then take steps to eliminate or avoid them.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 19, 2012
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