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Daily Q&A: What tips do you have for migraine headaches?

What tips do you have for dealing with migraine headaches?

If you suffer from migraine headaches, just know that some 30 million Americans also endure recurring migraine headaches — affecting about 17.1 percent of women and 5.6 percent of men, according to Dr. Margaret Lewin, medical director of Cinergy Health.

Here are some tips Lewin suggests to help combat migraines:

• Avoid them by learning what triggers them and avoiding those triggers. Common triggers include certain foods (including caffeine, chocolate, tyramine-containing foods such as red wine and aged cheeses, and nitrate-containing meats such as those that are cured), alcohol, tobacco smoke, bright or flashing lights, sleep deprivation, missed meals and loud noises.

• Exercise, using relaxation skills (such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing), periodic stretching if sitting for prolonged periods, and taking short breaks from stressful situations can be helpful.

• If you have frequent migraines, check with your obstetrician (preferably before becoming pregnant) about pharmacologic prevention. Certain prescription medications can be taken chronically to prevent migraine in people with frequent attacks, but none have been proven safe during pregnancy.

• Respond quickly. Once a migraine strikes, many women find that a short nap in a quiet, dark room is helpful, as are biofeedback techniques and massage. If these simple approaches don't work for you, plan ahead with your obstetrician about treatment options.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: What tips do you have for migraine headaches? 03/29/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 29, 2010 10:43am]
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