What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Be Prepared For Migraine

Medical experts have yet to come up with a definitive cure for migraine headaches. That doesn't mean, however, that you should just accept migraine as a rather unpleasant part of your life - there are ways to improve your condition. Many migraine sufferers, like those who have contributed to our personal migraine stories section, have found ways to manage their migraines and reduce their number of attacks. Migraine prevention and treatment play an important role in migraine management, and so does preparation. It may seem a little pessimistic to "prepare" for your migraines, however, if you're well prepared when migraine strikes, the condition will have a less of an impact on your life.

Know Your Triggers

Doctors who specialize in the treatment of migraines recommend that every migraine sufferer keeps a diary in which he or she records the details of every migraine attack. Keeping a record like this will help you to identify, what, if anything, causes your migraine attacks. You should write down what you were doing when the migraine began, what you had eaten just before, where you were and what effect the medication you took (if any) had on the pain. You should record anything you think might be relevant, no matter how small. If you can use this diary to identify what causes your attacks, for example, a certain type of food, a flickering computer screen or even stress, you can then prepare ways to deal with or perhaps avoid such triggers.

Manage Your Schedule

If you already know that you tend to suffer from migraines at certain times (for example, during menstruation, for women) try to adjust your work/study/childcare schedule accordingly. Of course, you can't rearrange your life to the extent that you will never have to look after the kids at a time when you know a migraine is likely, but you could always have a "plan B" should a migraine occur. Sit down with a close relative or a friend who is willing to help and agree on a plan for what would happen in such a case. Make sure that person knows to have his or her cell phone switched on in anticipation of a call from you. It might be helpful for him or her to have a calendar with the days on which you are more likely to have a migraine marked out.

When Out And About

Migraines won't do you the favor of always starting while you are at home in bed, therefore you should be prepared wherever you go. In your car, on your desk at work, in your handbag or jacket pocket, you should always have your medication, a bottle of water, and anything else you need to deal with your migraines.

Driving - In the car, it's a good idea to have blankets and warm clothes for cold days and extra water for hot days; you wouldn't be the first migraine sufferer to have to pull over in the middle of a journey and rest for a while.

At Work - If a migraine does begin at work, don't drive home until you know it is safe to do so. This is another example of a time when it would be good to make arrangements in advance with a colleague or someone else who could help you get home in an emergency. It's also a good idea to let your boss know about your migraines, perhaps not at the interview stage if you are looking for a new job, but after you have started to work there. If bright lights bother you during your migraines, you might want to carry something you can use to cover your eyes. If you are stuck at work with a migraine, your colleagues probably won't appreciate you switching off all the lights in the office.

Cell Phone

Make sure the battery on your cell phone is always charged up and that you have the numbers you need, including your doctor's emergency line.


Aside from knowing what to do when a migraine occurs, it's important to consider what you can do to stop the migraine starting in the first place. Check out our section on migraine prevention to find out more.