Are There Any Migraine Treatments
There is no permanent cure for migraine headaches. However, with treatment, you can
- Prevent the attacks
- Get relief from the symptoms
These treatments include:
- Pain relievers:Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine and ibuprofen, work well in relieving your headache temporarily. Be careful when you take OTC pain relievers because using them too much can give you rebound headaches.
- Triptans: You might get a pill to swallow, tablets you dissolve on your tongue, a nasal spray, an injection, or a skin patch.
- Dihydroergotamine: This can be used as an injection or as a nasal spray.
- Reyvow : This is a newly approved drug to relieve the signs and symptoms of migraine.
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists: These are prescribed if other medicines fail to provide you relief.
If other treatments do not work and you have four or more migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest medicines to prevent them or reduce their severity. These include
Warm Or Cold Compresses
According to Dr. Hindiyeh, people with migraine may benefit from applying a warm or cold compress on either their head or neck, depending on personal preference. Dr. Hindiyeh suggests that cold may be helpful if youre experiencing intense or throbbing pain, whereas a warm compress can help alleviate tightness or tension in the neck or upper back that may be contributing to migraine symptoms.
When To Seek Help
If an individual experiences migraine symptoms more than a few times per month, or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with work or other activities, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor can rule out serious illnesses and provide advice on managing and treating symptoms.
Migraine is common, but it is often underdiagnosed, particularly in communities of color and those with lower incomes.
If someone is having difficulty getting a diagnosis from their primary doctor, they may be able to get second opinions or speak with a headache specialist instead.
Headache specialists are doctors who have completed additional training in diagnosing and treating migraine and other headache disorders. The American Migraine Foundation has a directory of headache specialists people can use to find one.
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What Can I Do To Help Relieve The Symptoms Of A Menstrual Migraine
Do your best to figure out what makes your hormone headaches better or worse. For example, if light causes pain and you feel overheated, stay in a cool, dark room. Additional tips include:
- Keep your blood sugar levels up by eating small, frequent snacks. Never miss a meal.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
- Avoid too little or too much sleep, and keep a regular sleep pattern.
- Change your diet, if needed.
- Avoid stress when you can, and learn how to manage it when you cant.
Tip #5 Try Some Caffeine
While caffeinated drinks can be a trigger for some, others may find that small doses of caffeine can actually help reduce symptoms. Researchers are still learning about the exact role caffeine plays in migraines, but studies have shown that small amounts can help treat headaches.
If caffeine isnt a trigger for you, take some over-the-counter pain medicine that contains caffeine or drink a small cup of coffee. Stick to a maximum of 200mg of caffeine per day, which equals about 2 cups of coffee.
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Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms.
Applying cold or frozen compresses to your neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction, and constricts blood vessels, all of which could help reduce headache pain .
Studies suggest that cold therapy may benefit those experiencing certain types of headaches, including headaches caused by nitrate medication used to treat heart conditions like chest pain .
To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of your neck, your head, or your temples for headache relief.
Natural Remedies For Migraines
There are plenty of drug-free and natural remedies for migraines that can be used to treat and prevent migraines. These dont involve medication, which means theres no risk of developing a medication overuse headache. You might find that your symptoms are easiest to manage when you combine over-the-counter painkillers and prescription medication with these kinds of lifestyle changes and pain management techniques.
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Home Remedies To Ease A Headache Or Migraine Attack
Many headache symptoms can be at least partially alleviated without medication. Here are some tips for homemade headache and migraine relief.
Apply an ice pack to your head and neck. Cold compresses on the head and neck are a common home remedy to ease the pain of a migraine attack. Some people also find it helpful for tension headaches. To avoid skin injury, wrap the ice or cold pack in a cloth and apply it for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Apply heat to the head, neck, or hands and feet. Applying heat may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful, or simply run warm water over your hands and feet.
Have a big glass of water.Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack or lead to a nonmigraine headache, says the National Headache Foundation. Replacing the liquids your body needs may help to relieve the pain.
Practice a relaxation technique.Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. “Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches,” says Rozental.
Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes helps to reduce headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
Tip #4 Use Ice Or Heat
An ice pack may help relieve some pain, especially when used while lying down in a dark, quiet room. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on your forehead or neck for no longer than about 15 minutes at a time. A cool cloth also works instead of ice.
Alternatively, you may find that a heating pad or warm bath works better for relieving your discomfort. Be careful not to fall asleep while using a heating pad.
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Triptans Available In Australia For Migraine
*Dosages apply to adults over 18. Take these medications only as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
**Sumatriptan injection not subsidised on PBS
The Therapeutic Goods Administration published a recommendation in February 2020 that sumatriptan and zolmitriptan should be available from pharmacists without a prescription . As of March 2021, sumatriptan has been made available as a pharmacist only medication in a packet of two, and the remainder of triptans remain prescription only .
One risk for both triptans and simple analgesics is medication overuse. Taking any class of painkiller too often can worsen migraine or other headache disorders by increasing the amount of inflammation in the brain and decreasing the brains ability to inhibit pain . It is important therefore to limit triptans to less than 10 days a month and simple analgesics to no more than 15 days a month. This is part of the reason that if you have more than four migraine days per month, management with your doctor will also focus on preventive medication and lifestyle changes.
Tip #2 Take A Pain Reliever
Pain medications can help take the edge off when taken at the first sign of a headache. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, and dont take more than the recommended dose.
The most commonly recommended medications include:
- NSAIDs . NSAIDs are a class of drugs that reduce inflammation and pain. They may cause nausea or stomach upset in some people, especially if taken on an empty stomach. Common NSAID brands include Motrin, Excedrin, Advil, and Aleve.
- Acetaminophen. Medicines containing acetaminophen can help manage discomfort without the gastrointestinal side effects of NSAIDs. Tylenol and Midol contain acetaminophen.
- Triptans. Triptans are a class of drugs that can help calm blood vessels and nerves in the brain to manage pain at the start of an attack. Triptans are only available through prescription, so talk to your doctor to learn more.
Note: Taking pain relievers very often carries the risk of medication overuse headaches. These rebound headaches can occur if you take pain medicines every day or almost every day in a month. If you find that the pain keeps returning after medication wears off or youre relying on medication to get through most days, ask your doctor about other treatments.
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What Triggers Migraines In Women
In addition to a drop in estrogen, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy for menopause can change the frequency or severity of migraines. If you notice your migraine headache getting worse after starting one of these medications, it may be worthwhile to ask your healthcare provider for a medication that contains a lower dose of estrogen, or ask for a change from an interrupted dosing regimen to a continuous one.
How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Migraine And A Headache
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders 3 criteria for migraine without aura, you must have had at least five headache attacks fulfilling the following criteria:
Headache attacks lasting four to 72 hours
The headache has at least two of the following characteristics:
- Unilateral location
- Pulsating quality
- Moderate or severe pain intensity
- Aggravation by or causing you to avoid routine physical activity
- In addition, during the headache, at least one of the following characteristics:
- and/or phonophobia
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To make the diagnosis of migraine, your doctor will take your complete medical history. They will ask you about:
- The type and location of your headache
- The frequency of headaches
- Medication history
- Aura: How you felt before, during and after the headache
Your doctor may ask you for tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging or electric encephalography , to rule out any other causes of headache
When Headaches Are Secondary To Other Problems
Headaches can result from other conditions, some of which are life-threatening:
Stroke: Sudden and severe headaches might be a sign of a stroke. Women who have strokes during pregnancy or after delivery typically describe the pain as the worst headache of their lives. They also might report other symptoms, such as speech problems, vision issues, or functional problems on one side of the face or body. At the emergency room, the doctor will evaluate you for stroke symptoms, such as visual changes, facial drooping, and arm or leg weakness. If you are having or had a stroke, we will get you emergency treatment at our Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Preeclampsia: A headache with preeclampsia can indicate a dangerous spike in blood pressure. The doctor will assess you and might admit you to the hospital for management of blood pressure and treatment to prevent seizures.
Spinal fluid leak: A headache after an epidural or spinal block can indicate a spinal fluid leak, especially if it worsens when you sit or stand up. The most effective treatment is an epidural blood patch, in which the doctor injects a sample of your blood into the leaking area, essentially plugging the hole. This therapy provides dramatic relief right away.
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Bread Grains And Cereals
- most cereals, except for those containing nuts, dried fruits, or aspartame
- plain or sesame seed bagels
- quick bread, such as pumpernickel or zucchini bread
- most plain pretzels and potato chips
- unflavored crackers, such as saltines or Club crackers
- white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread from a store
Foods to avoid:
- flavored crackers, such as cheddar cheese crackers
- fresh bread that is homemade or from a grocers bakery
- pizza, as it is also a fresh bread
- highly flavored or seasoned chips
- food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, MSG, and artificial sweeteners
Not eating anything at all can also lead to an increased incidence of migraines. For some people, prolonged hunger and not eating enough are known headache triggers. This may be due to a link between low blood sugar levels and worsening migraine headaches.
Antiemetics Available In Australia For Migraine
*Dosages apply to adults over 18. Take these medications only as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
None of the above medications were developed specifically for migraine, except for those sold as a combined tablet with paracetamol. Metoclopramide and prochlorperazine are the antiemetics most commonly recommended for migraine, because they dont cause major blood pressure changes, require cardiac monitoring, and may themselves also bring additional pain relief .
There is also evidence to suggest that antiemetics can work synergistically with migraine treatments particularly in the setting of nausea or vomiting . One emergency department study showed that intravenous metoclopramide and prochlorperazine had a similar level of efficacy . Your doctor will be able to recommend which drug is more suitable based on your symptoms and reaction to previous medications.
Similar to triptans, ergotamine and dihydroergotamine are migraine-specific drugs that target serotonin receptors . However, triptans have mostly replaced ergotamines, because they are more effective and ergotamines tend to cause side effects such as nausea. There are no ergotamine compounds currently available in Australia .
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Identifying And Avoiding Triggers
The best way to prevent migraines is noticing the things that trigger an attack and trying to avoid them.
You may find you tend to have a migraine after eating certain foods or when you’re stressed. By avoiding this trigger you can prevent a migraine.
Keeping a migraine diary can help you identify possible triggers. It also helps to track how well any medicine you’re taking is working.
In your migraine diary, record:
- the date of the attack
- the time of day the attack began
- any warning signs
- what medicine you took
- when the attack ended
Medicines For Nausea Or Vomiting
Examples: metoclopramide, domperidone and prochlorperazine
These medicines are called anti-sickness medicines or antiemetics. They can be helpful to treat migraine even if you don’t experience nausea or vomiting. These are prescribed by your doctor and can be used together with other pain relievers and triptans. Seek medical advice before taking anti-sickness medicines as they are not suitable for some people.As with pain relievers, anti-sickness medicines work better if taken as soon as your migraine symptoms begin. They usually come in the form as tablets, but are also available as a suppository.
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What Treatments Can Help Prevent Migraine
Ultimately, the best way to treat a migraine attack is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Thereâs plenty you can do to help make headaches less frequent:
Take supplements and vitamins
âSupplementsâ is really a catch-all term for products like vitamins and minerals you can add to your diet. The ones that research shows may prevent migraine attacks are riboflavin , Coenzyme Q10 , and magnesium. Cove offers a supplement that combines all three called Beam.
Studies suggest stress may be the most common migraine trigger. Keeping your stress level under control by exercising, getting enough sleep, or even using cognitive behavioral therapy can make a major impact on the number of headaches you experience.
Identify and avoid migraine triggers
There are a lot of other lifestyle factors that can trigger an attack, from your diet or menstrual cycle to the weather. If youâre not sure exactly whatâs setting off your headaches, tracking your migraine can help you figure it out. The better you understand your triggers, the easier it is to avoid them, or at least plan ahead for them.
And part of planning ahead is making sure you have the right acute treatments on hand. While OTC pain relievers are a good first-line treatment, if you find theyâre not doing enough, you can talk to a Cove doctor about what other medications might work for you.
How Is Abdominal Migraine Similar To A Migraine
Abdominal migraine and migraine share similar triggers, such as stress, skipping meals, exposure to bright light, and poor sleep. Foods containing chocolate, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate are also triggers. Because there are so few studies on medications used to treat this condition, patients with the condition are often treated with medications shown to be effective on a migraine.
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Treatments For Quick Migraine Relief
Treating migraine symptoms right away can shorten the attack, which otherwise can last from hours to days.
The types of medications that can alleviate symptoms once a migraine attack has started are known as acute, or abortive, medications. These include OTC pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, prescription medications called triptans, and a new class of drugs called CGRP receptor antagonists.
Not everyone with migraine will respond to all of these drugs. You may need to try several before finding the drug or combination of drugs and the doses that work best for you.
Triptans There are currently seven triptan drugs available in the United States: almotriptan , eletriptan , frovatriptan , naratriptan , rizatriptan , sumatriptan , and zolmitriptan .
All triptans are available in pill form two, sumatriptan and zolmitriptan, come as a nasal spray and one, sumatriptan, is sold in an injectable form.
Triptan injections start working in about 10 minutes, nasal sprays start working in 10 to 15 minutes, and most pills start working in 30 to 60 minutes, although the longer-acting triptans, frovatriptan and naratriptan, take one to three hours to start working.
Lasmiditan Lasmiditan is also available as an oral tablet and can alleviate migraine pain in as little as an hour. Because lasmiditan works differently from triptans, it may also be an alternative for people who cant take triptans or dont get relief from them.