A migraine is a headache that occurs due to physiological changes in the brain. It can be severe and is usually more intense than regular headaches. Most people who suffer from migraines complain of an intense pain on one side of the head. However, some people suffer from migraine pain on both sides of the head.
Migraines last for hours and sometimes even days. It is associated with sensitivity to sound, light, and smell. Unfortunately, the experts have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of migraines. What they do know is that migraines are set off by triggers. Each person’s trigger is different. Sometimes, a person even can have multiple triggers.
A migraine with aura
Some people experience physiological signs before they have a full-blown migraine. This is known as the aura of a migraine. The signs can include flashing lights, nausea, and tingling. The aura usually starts several minutes before an actual migraine begins. It gives the patient enough time to take any preventive measures.
Remedies for migraines
The remedies for migraines are of two types. The first type is preventive, while the second one includes any treatment that is taken after a migraine begins.
Preventive remedies for migraines
- Learn to cope (LTC) – It is a recent method of treating patients who suffer from migraines. In this treatment, patients are exposed to small measures of triggers. This way, patients can develop resistance to the triggers. Slowly, as the treatment progresses, the patient will find that they don’t suffer from migraines as often as they used to.
- Create a schedule and stick to it – Studies have shown that migraines can occur when a person has erratic lifestyle patterns. There have been cases where a patient will suffer from a migraine attack even if they wake up a few minutes before they usually do. Create a schedule for your sleep and meals, and make sure you are diligent at following it. Having a plan will reduce stress levels which itself is a trigger for migraines.
- Exercise regularly – It has been proven that exercise is instrumental in eliminating stress and releasing endorphins. Studies have also shown that excess weight is linked to migraines. Be sure to consult with your doctor before undertaking any exercise routine. If you are exercising for the first time, then choose any easy activity you like such as cycling or swimming. Be sure to start slow because a sudden and intense workout can worsen the situation.
- Restrict estrogen intake – Many women suffer from migraines when they use estrogen supplements. Discuss this matter with your doctor and try to reduce the consumption of estrogen.
- Cardiovascular drugs – Blood pressure issues are usually addressed with beta-blockers. These drugs can help prevent migraine attacks. However, they are not recommended for people over 60, or who have heart conditions. People who eat tobacco must avoid them too.
- Antidepressants – These drugs can be used to treat migraines by people who are not suffering from depression. Tricyclic antidepressants boost the levels of serotonin in the brain which is directly linked to the occurrence of migraines. However, these drugs can cause multiple side effects and must be taken only after consultation with a doctor.
Abortive remedies for migraines
Abortive remedies are taken once the migraine attack has already hit you. In the case of migraines, this usually means pain-relieving medications. These medicines work best if they are taken as soon as a migraine begins.
- Pain relievers – Several pain relievers can help managing migraines. These include medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. For mild migraines, acetaminophen can be prescribed. Several drugs are specifically sold as migraine relievers. These are recommended only for moderate migraines as they are not as effective with severe migraines. Their unwarranted consumption is strictly not recommended.
- Triptans – These drugs cause the blood vessels in your brain to constrict, thus cutting short the pain. Triptans are available in many forms – nasal sprays, injections, and pills. These can cause side effects like nausea and dizziness.
- Ergots – These drugs are a combination of caffeine and ergotamine and best used for migraines that usually last for more than a couple of days. Since migraines typically occur in patterns, a patient will know the nature and duration of a migraine they suffer from. Ergots work best when they are taken at the start of an attack.
It is critical to understand that you don’t consume any of the prescribed medications without your doctor’s approval.
Migraines can often be debilitating. It is essential that you recognize the patterns of your migraines. This includes the duration as well as the triggers for a migraine. Triggers can be varied, and the most common ones include smoking, lack of sleep, and stress. Once you recognize the patterns, consult with your doctor for the best possible treatment. Since no two migraines are similar, your treatment plan will have to suit you and your lifestyle.