Sometimes migraine prevention can be difficult, primarily because migraine headache prevention relies heavily on new migraine research findings and the relationship between a patient and a doctor. Believe it or not, migraine headache prevention is possible. In this article, we discuss migraine prevention methods and show you how migraine headache prevention is possible for you.

"Many migraineurs suffer needlessly," says Seymour Diamond, MD, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic and executive chairperson of the National Headache Foundation. A study conducted by the foundation in 1999 surveying migraine incidence and treatments over the preceding decade found little change in the way people treat their headaches. Ironically, during that same period, researchers made enormous strides in treating this debilitating headache that affects about 13 percent of the population.

"Possibly the greatest discoveries of the last 40 years have occurred in this 10-year period," Dr. Diamond says. Why aren't doctors and patients taking advantage of these research strides? "Two things are happening: patients aren't going to their doctor, and the doctors aren't prescribing the newer medications." The survey found that the only medications that increased in rate of prescriptions during the decade were pain relievers. "People are still treating migraine in an old-fashioned way."

Dr. Diamond blames the discrepancy between research and practice in the field, in part, on patients not seeking medical attention because they believe they must live with the pain. But the managed care system also shares the blame. "I think that managed care would rather promote an inexpensive pain-relieving drug than give them what I call a reversal drug, a drug that actually reverses what's happening when a person gets a migraine attack."

"There have been a lot of arguments recently about consumer advertising of [prescription] drugs, but I think it should be done," he says. Such ads encourage patients to explore other care options and persuade doctors to learn more about the advances about which their patients are asking.

As many as 30 percent of migraineurs also suffer from tension, drug-rebound and other headaches. A complete physical and tracking of headache patterns with a headache diary are essential to identifying triggers of the pain. Here is an overview of medications and non-drug therapies used in treating migraines.