Headache Home > Migraine Prevention

Some common strategies for preventing a migraine include knowing and avoiding your triggers, making certain lifestyle changes, and taking medications. Because migraine triggers can include certain foods or stress, eating a healthy diet or learning relaxation techniques may help keep migraines at bay. Medications used for prevention can include propranolol, verapamil, and methysergide. Among the alternative and complementary therapies available are acupuncture, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

An Overview of Migraine Prevention Strategies

There is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How, then, does a person prevent migraines?
A number of methods can help. Common prevention approaches for migraines may include:
  • Knowing your triggers
  • Reducing stress and making other lifestyle changes
  • Using medications (see Migraine Medications).

Preventing Migraines By Knowing Your Triggers

The best migraine prevention is to find out what events or lifestyle factors, such as stress or certain foods, set off your headaches. In many cases, a combination of triggers may cause a migraine. Try to avoid or limit these triggers as much as you can.
(Click Migraine Triggers and Migraine Food Triggers for more detailed information.)

Stress Reduction and Other Lifestyle Changes

Since migraine headaches are more common during stressful times, find healthy ways to cope with stress. Talk with your healthcare provider about starting an exercise program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.
Some other lifestyle changes that are important for migraine prevention include:
  • Eating a healthy diet (see Migraine Diet)
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation
  • Getting adequate amounts of sleep
  • Quitting smoking (if you smoke)
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
(Click Stress-Related Migraines for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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