Preparing for a migraine headache is like preparing for that moment when we finally shuffle off this mortal coil. How can one consciously prepare for inevitable events that can strike at any time of day or night? As the famous Dutch humanist Erasmus once said: Prevention is better than the cure.
Keeping a Migraine Diary
The best-laid plans of migraine preparation are only as good as the diaries they are written in. Those who suffer from migraines are encouraged to keep a diary that records quantifiable and descriptive data related to their condition. Some of the most important notes to keep include:
- The time and day when migraine attacks occur.
- The feeling and specific activity experienced right before the attack.
- The length and intensity of pain.
- The foods consumed prior to the migraine attack.
- A description of the environmental surroundings with regard to light.
Migraine diaries help patients and healthcare professionals to identify migraine triggers that commonly affect people. Although a migraine diary is a very personal record, patients should feel comfortable to share it with important people in their lives, such as spouses, adult children, relatives, co-workers, business partners, etc.
What Being Prepared for Migraines Really Means
Based on observations and analysis, physicians can develop preventive pain management plans for migraine patients. These plans will include paying close attention to situational and dietary triggers such as bright, non-incandescent light and foods rich in monosodium glutamate (MSG).
There are various medications available for prevention of migraine attacks. Taking these medications exactly as prescribed and being mindful of side effects and drug interactions should be part of a comprehensive preparation plan. Having these medications as well as water available is a priority for migraine patients. The same goes for the migraine diary, which can also be kept in electronic format thanks to mobile smartphone and tablet apps.
The steps mentioned above are mostly preventive. The proactive steps of preparing for a future migraine include:
- Carrying comfort items to deal with migraine pain, such as sunglasses and a hat to shield from bright lights.
- Having the telephone numbers of health care professionals and loved ones available in case of a medical emergency.
When it comes to preparing for a migraine attack, it pays to heed the wise words of American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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