There is no cure for migraine headaches. But, there are numerous treatments to help prevent people from having full-blown attacks.
Three Approaches To Migraine Treatment
The three main approaches you can take for migraine headache treatment are: acute, preventive, and complementary.
Acute treatment is a therapy meant to stop a migraine attack right when it begins.
Preventive treatment is remedy used to lessen the number of attacks and intensity of pain as well as keep future attacks from happening.
Complementary treatment is a non-drug, preventive method.
No, your doctor can’t give you a magic pill to make all your headache troubles disappear forever. Your doctor can, however, work with you to help you better manage your condition through the use of pain-relieving and preventive medications.
Acute, or abortive, treatments require you to take drugs during a migraine attack to stop the symptoms you’re experiencing. Four of the most common medications you could take are:
1. Pain relievers. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, can help relieve migraines and their pain. But be aware that overusing these can lead to medication-overuse headaches.
2. Triptans. These relieve pain and symptoms by aiding in the tightening of blood vessels and blocking pain pathways in the brain. You can get them in tablets, nasal sprays, and injections.
3. Ergots. Some doctors advise to take ergotamine and caffeine combination drugs. These are typically more effective when taken by people whose migraine pain lasts more than two days.
4. Opioid medications. Medications that contain narcotics, specifically codeine, can be used to treat migraines for people who can’t take triptans. Since narcotics are highly addictive, this type of medication is often used as a last resort.
While preventive medications don’t completely stop headaches, they do lessen the length, frequency, and severity of migraines. Many doctors recommend taking preventive medications daily or when a predictable trigger is imminent. Cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly accepted preventive medications.
The severity and frequency of your migraine headaches and other medical conditions you have will determine which medicated route you should take. Your doctor will help you find the medication that’s best for you and your symptoms.
Some people choose not to use over-the-counter or prescription drugs to treat their migraines. They either don’t tolerate the drugs well, don’t want their side effects, forget to take them on schedule, are pregnant, or simply don’t want to be dependent on medications. Non-drug migraine treatments are very cost-effective, some are even free, and all can be used to increase the effectiveness of drug treatments.
One route you can take is using natural remedies. These may be items you already have at home, such as lavender oil that you can inhale or apply topically, peppermint oil that you can inhale, or consuming more omega-3 fatty acids. Giving yourself a DIY scalp massage is another effective way to alleviate tension.
Self care may involve the need to change your lifestyle. You might have to change your eating habits, exercise regularly, meditate, get a good night’s sleep every night, and drink more water among other things. Keep a headache journal so you can analyze patterns to learn what your common triggers are and then know what you need to do more and less of to better prevent migraines.
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