What Are The Treatments For Migraine
There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.
When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .
Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.
It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.
Changes In The Weather
Storms, excessive heat and changes in barometric pressure are common weather-related migraine triggers that can lead to a migraine attack. High humidity and heat can easily lead to dehydration, another common trigger.
How to cope: We cant control the weather, so if the current conditions are not favorable for your migraine, stay inside or adjust your schedule accordingly. If theres an errand you need to run and its the middle of July in Arizona, take care of it in the morning before it gets too hot!
Signs And Symptoms Of Migraine
Symptoms of migraine vary depending on the type of migraine and on the person. In general, though, migraine attacks are very painful and can interfere with your daily life.
The most common symptom of migraine is head pain often characterized as an intense throbbing sensation, usually on one side of the head but sometimes on both sides of the head, and sometimes starting on one side of the head and moving to the other side.
However, migraine attacks have four stages, with somewhat different symptoms at each stage:
Prodrome, or warning, stage
Aura stage Up to a third of people experience the aura phase, which can last five minutes to an hour and increase in intensity over time. Aura may involve seeing bright spots or patterns of light, and numbness or tingling in various areas of the body but not paralysis.
Headache phase Pain comes with the headache phase, which can last several hours and up to three days. The throbbing pain may start on one side of the head and move to include both sides. It may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting as well as blurred vision and sensitivity to certain stimuli such as light and noise. People typically seek out a quiet, dark room to rest or sleep during this phase of a migraine attack.
Postdrome, or hangover, stage In the last phase of a migraine attack, when the headache pain has eased, fatigue and body aches may occur. You may have trouble concentrating and may still be hypersensitive to certain stimuli.
Don’t Miss: Can Migraines Make You Nauseous
What Research Is Being Done
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , a part of the National Institutes of Health , supports research on headache that may lead to new treatments or perhaps ways to block debilitating headache pain. Studies by other investigators are adding insight to headache etiology and treatment.
Understanding headache disease processes
NIH supports research on the mechanisms and causes of migraine pain including the roles of genetics, gender, and hormones in migraine, and how pain fibers in different parts of the brain and in the brain lining contribute to migraine. NINDS-funded researchers are investigating the influence of other conditions, particularly obesity and sleep disturbance, on migraine onset and severity and the connection between migraine and depression
NINDS funds several projects to develop animal models of headache pain and migraine, which help us to better understand headache mechanisms and test promising therapies. Scientists are using state-of-the-art imaging to detect disease processes and brain changes that occur in headache disorders as well as how headaches result from concussions.
Developing and testing new therapies
The NINDS-supported Childhood and Adolescent Migraine Prevention Study compared two commonly prescribed medications to prevent recurrent migraines in children and adolescents. The findings suggest that migraine treatments for adults may not necessarily work in young people.
Coordinating Pain Research
How Can I Help With Research
Clinical research uses human volunteersboth those who are healthy or may have an illness or diseaseto help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease. For information about finding and participating in clinical research visit NIHClinical Research Trials and You at .
You May Like: Do Blue Light Glasses Help With Headaches
What To Know Before You See The Doctor
Some people think an occasional headache is nothing to worry about. But headaches can become a problem if:
- You experience them frequently
- They become severe
- They are disrupting your everyday life
To help your doctor diagnose the source of your headaches, I find it useful when my patients keep track of how often theyre happening. This way, I can determine whether theres a pattern in triggers.
Seek immediate care for your headache if you experience:
- A sudden, intense headache
- Loss of consciousness or vision
- Frequent vomiting
- Pain for more than 72 hours with little to no relief
If youd like to speak with a Temple doctor about your headaches, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED today.
Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.
Also Check: How Does Botox Work For Migraines
Light And Sound Sensitivities
During a migraine episode, a person tends to seek refuge in a dark, quiet place. Bright lights and loud noises can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain. The same is true of certain smells. Light sensitivity may also be a symptom of the prodrome phase.
Light and sound sensitivities are also called photophobia and phonophobia , per StatPearls. They are typically associated with migraines without aura.
About 76% of people who experience migraines report triggers that contributed to the attack, per StatPearls. Exposure to light may trigger a migraine in 38% of people who report triggers. Odors such as perfumes, colognes, and gasoline may trigger about 40% of episodes in people who report triggers. The top trigger was stress .
Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors
Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:
- Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
- Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
- Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
You May Like: How To Relieve Tmj Headaches
What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain
Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.
Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:
- Excedrin® Migraine.
- Advil® Migraine.
- Motrin® Migraine Pain.
Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.
Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:
Triptan class of drugs :
Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.
Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.
All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.
Alternative migraine management methods, also known as home remedies, include:
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine
The most common ocular migraine symptom is a small blind spot that impairs your central vision in one eye.
This blind spot expands, making it difficult to drive safely or read using the affected eye.
In addition to the flickering blind spot, other migraine symptoms include:
- A colorful light ring that is wavy or zigzag and surrounds a central blind spot
- A blind spot that slowly migrates across your field of vision
- A migraine lasting between 4 and 42 hours
- Nausea and vomiting
- A headache that feels worse when you move your head
If you have blind spots or other visual symptoms and arent sure whether it’s an ocular migraine or a visual migraine, cover one eye at a time and observe your sense of sight. If the visual disturbance affects one eye only, it is most likely an ocular migraine.
Recommended Reading: What Foods Get Rid Of Headaches
How Long Can Migraine Last
Migraines can come on suddenly, or may start showing early warning signs.
If youve had a migraine before, you know that once a painful, throbbing migraine attack begins, one of the most important questions on your mind is when it will end so you can feel better.
In this article, Ill explain more about migraines, including how to know if youre having one, the stages of migraine, how theyre triggered, and how long migraines can last.
Ill also talk about treatments for migraine, and when to see a doctor or consider prescription medication.
Headaches That Wake You Up
A headache that wakes you up from sleep is known as a hypnic headache. Its often also referred to as an alarm clock headache.
Hypnic headaches tend to happen at the same time several nights a week. This type of headache pain can be described as:
at least 24 hours . It can even continue for days or even months at a time. The pain may worsen or even improve slightly from day to day, but its still there.
This type of headache is rare, but for those who experience it, the symptoms can be debilitating. A new daily persistent headache often doesnt respond to traditional headache treatment options, and may not resolve on its own for several months.
A headache typically causes pain in your head, face, or neck area. Get urgent medical attention if you have severe, unusual pain or other signs and symptoms. Your headache may be a sign of an underlying illness or health condition.
Your headache pain may be serious if you have:
- sudden, very intense headache pain
- severe or sharp headache pain for the first time
- a stiff neck and fever
- a fever higher than 102 to 104°F
- nausea and vomiting
Don’t Miss: What Causes Pounding Headaches While Sleeping
Sinus Headache Vs Migraine
Pain with a runny or stuffy nose is the typical symptom of a sinus headache. But did you know that a migraine can also cause these symptoms? The difference is in the color of your mucus:
- If your mucus is clear and runny, it could be a migraine.
- Sinus headaches can be a sign of a sinus infection that causes your mucus to thicken and sometimes turn a yellowish color.
Er Or Not: Sudden Severe Headache
You are suddenly hit with a severe headache that youve never experienced before. Maybe you pass out maybe it makes you sick to your stomach. Should you go to the ER? Emergency physician Dr. Troy Madsen says these thunderclap headaches might be a sign of something much more serious. On this episode of “ER or Not” we talk what potentially life threatening problems that a severe headache might be a sign of, and how to distinguish them from a normal headache.
All right. It’s time for ER or Not, where you play along and decide whether or not something that happened is worth going to the emergency room or not. We’re with Dr. Troy Madsen. He’s an emergency room physician at University of Utah Hospital. Today’s ER or Not, you get a crazy severe headache out of nowhere. Just, bam, it hits you. Should I wait a few minutes, or should I think about going to the ER? ER or Not?
Don’t Miss: How To Crack Your Neck To Relieve Headache
When To Get Medical Advice
You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.
Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.
Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.
You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:
- paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
- slurred or garbled speech
- a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
- headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.
Unusual Headaches: Signs To Watch For And What To Do
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
Headaches come in lots of varieties, and some are easily recognizable. A migraine classically causes throbbing, pounding pain that lasts for hours sometimes even days on one side of the head. A tension headache usually feels like a tight band squeezing around your noggin. And a sinus headache shows up as pressure on one side of the face, behind the nose, or above one eye when you have a sinus infection.
Some headaches, however, arent as well-known.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Migraine Pressure Point
Eek How Can I Tell If Im Having A Migraine Or Just A Tension Or Sinus Headache
Migraine headaches can cause various symptoms before, during, and after the attack. Not all people experience all symptoms, and your migraine may be entirely different than a friends.
Symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they start overnight, causing people to wake up with a migraine, but not always, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, every migraine headache is slightly different, and theres no cut and dry list of symptoms that pertain to everyone.
All that said, there are a number of ways migraines differ from regular headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, youre likely suffering from a migraine and not something that’ll go away by popping some Advil.
What Happens During A Migraine
Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”
Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:
- have blurred vision
- see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
- smell a certain odor
- feel tingling in a part of their face
Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.
Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours some can last a couple of days.
Read Also: Medicine For Fever And Headache
What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
Currently, there is limited research on what causes ocular and visual migraines.
Although studies have shown a change in blood flow into the eye during ocular migraines, the exact cause of this change remains unclear.
However, scientists sometimes associate the condition with genetics, meaning it may run in the family.
According to research, up to 70% of migraine patients have a personal or family history of migraine.2
Migraine triggers play a vital role in the onset and frequency of migraines.
Common migraine triggers include:3
- Alcoholic drinks such as red wine
- Excess heat or high altitude