Migraines are one of the most common types of problems faced by people worldwide. Migraines are very similar to headaches, except the intensity is much more. At times, migraine pain can be unbearable. Hence, it is essential to whether or not you have a migraine. If you do, you should also know about the treatment methods.
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Diagnosis of Migraines
For migraine diagnosis, you can visit any neurologist. A neurological and physical exam will be conducted, and your symptoms and medical history will also be checked. The main tests for diagnosing migraines are given below.
- MRI – MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a scanning method where the precise pictures of blood vessels and brain are obtained with the help of radio waves and magnetic fields.
- CT Scan – In this scanning process, the image of the brain taken cross-sectional is obtained with exposure to X-rays. Migraines can be easily detected by this method. Thus, early treatment procedures can be started.
Migraine treatment is mainly based on reducing the pain and stopping the symptoms. The two categories are-
- Medications for pain-relief – These medicines are designed to prevent migraine symptoms in a patient.
- Medications for prevention – These medicines mainly prevent migraine attacks.
Depending on the pattern and intensity of the headaches experienced, the treatment method will vary from patient to patient.
These medicines should mainly be taken whenever the slightest symptoms of migraines appear. The various available types are-
- Pain relievers – These medicines mainly consist of ibuprofen or aspirin. Acetaminophen and caffeine may also be present. These medications should be taken in a limited amount, and they are mainly helpful for mild pains.
- Triptans – These include drugs such as rizatriptan and sumatriptan. The action is mainly to block the pathways of pain. These medicines are available as nasal sprays, shots, and pills. These are not recommended for heart patients.
- Dihydroergotamines – These drugs can be taken as injections or nasal sprays, and they are very effective when applied early. However, it is not recommended for patients of liver, kidney, and blood pressure.
- Lasmiditan – This drug is also known as Reyvow, and is a new tablet for treating migraine patients who do not face aura. It has been quite effective for pain. However, it causes a sedating effect, which means people with a high work rate on the next day should avoid taking this drug.
- Ubrogepant – this medicine can be used for treating acute migraines and short-lived migraines. This drug has shown to be effective within two hours of taking and acts a sedative. Any CYP3A4 inhibitor drugs should not be taken with this drug.
- Opioid medications – Some migraine patients are affected very badly while taking common pain-relief medications. The best option to go for in such cases is opioid medications. These drugs are made of codeine and are used only when other medications cannot be used, or are not as effective.
- Anti-nausea drugs – For migraine patients who are suffering from extreme nausea, anti-nausea drugs can be used. The main components of such drugs are prochlorperazine, metoclopramide, and chlorpromazine.
For patients who have migraines for long durations, preventive medications are suggested. The main aim of this type of treatment is to reduce the intensity and duration of the migraine attacks. The options are –
- Medications for lowering blood pressure – These drugs are mainly propranolol and metoprolol tartrate, and they act as beta-blockers. Verapamil, which is a calcium channel blocker, is also used.
- Antidepressants – Antidepressants such as amitriptyline is used for migraine prevention. These drugs are, however, highly sedative.
- Anti-seizure drugs – These drugs include topiramate and Valproate, and these help in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
- Botox injections – Drugs like onabotulinumtoxinA or Botox can be applied as injections to migraine patients in 3 months for better prevention.
- CGRP monoclonal antibodies – CGRP or Calcitonin gene-related peptide drugs are mainly Aimovig, Ajovy, and Emgality. These drugs need to be applied via injecting, and they can be applied once a month.
Remedies at home and lifestyle
When no medications are available, you can try to reduce the intensity of migraine pains by following these simple home remedies given below.
- Try to relax. Go in a dark room and lie down with your eyes closed. Stress is one of the main causes of migraine. Controlling it will also reduce pain.
- Try to sleep and eat properly. Maintaining your meal and sleep will help you cope with migraines in a better way.
- Try drinking lots of water and fluids like peppermint tea. The aim is to stay hydrated.
- Try maintaining a diary properly with your migraine reports. After some time, you will recognize a pattern and figure out your migraine trigger conditions. Your treatment will also be more effective that way.
- Maintain an exercise routine. Exercises and mainly yoga postures can help you cope with stress by a lot, and also improve your overall health. In both ways, light exercises are helpful for migraines.
There are some other types of medications available for migraines as well. These treatment methods mainly belong in the non-traditional methods. However, they are found to be quite effective in many patients. Some of the alternative medicines are –
- Acupuncture – This treatment with piercing thin needles in pressure points of the body is particularly useful for treating migraines.
- Biofeedback – This is another treatment method which is quite effective for treating migraines. This technique mainly uses relaxation methods, and specialized types of equipment are used for teaching the patients with coping stress levels and migraine trigger conditions.
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy – This treatment is mainly psychotherapy and helps a patient to perceive the migraine pain in a different manner to scale down the intensity.
- Minerals, vitamins, and herbs – Herbs such as butterbur and feverfew are well-known for preventing migraine pain by lowering down the intensity. However, these treatment methods are still under tests.
Other than this, the riboflavin doses are also administered for prevention of migraine pains. Other supplements include magnesium supplements and Coenzyme Q10 supplements.
It is always advised to follow the medication as prescribed by doctors. Except for home remedies, any drug or medicine should only be taken after a doctor prescribes it.
Ways to Stop Headaches
Given below are some of the extensive ways in which you can cope with the headaches of migraines.
Apply a Cold Pack
Ice cubes or cold water-dipped towel can help a lot in dealing with headaches. Simply put the cold pack in your forehead for some time to reduce the intensity of pain.
Apply Hot Compress and Heating Pads
If cold packs are not as effective, you can also try applying heat. For doing so, you can use heating pads or hot compress. This warm sensation is also effective for treating headaches for many.
Try to Ease Pressure on Head
If you are wearing something tight on your head, such as a headband, caps, or tight goggles, try removing them to ease the pressure. If your hair is tied up, open it for easing the pain.
Darken the Lighting
Bright light and flickering can act as triggers for headache. Try going into a dark room or darken the lights to feel better.
Avoid Chewing For Some Time
The act of chewing can cause muscles and tendons attached to the skull to move in a to and fro manner. This can trigger headaches. If you are experiencing a headache, try not to chew until the pain wears off.
Caffeine is naturally good for headaches, and a large amount of caffeine is available in drinks like tea and coffee. Have regular drinks, and you may find your headache to disappear. Be sure not to drink too many caffeinated drinks, though.
Relaxing can ease headache pain. Exercises in a light manner and yoga postures are beneficial for reducing stress. Thus, they have a positive impact on reducing headache pain.
Try massaging your temples and neck to release stress and ease the headache pain.
Ginger is extremely useful in treating headaches. Patients with migraines can take ginger in addition to prescribed medicines to have a much better result.
Follow Medicines in Moderation
You should always use the medicines as they are prescribed or guided. Even on medicines, you can follow a few rules. For example, liquid medicines work way faster than pills. Take pain relievers and painkillers early in small doses. The recommendation of a doctor and the follow-ups should be strictly done and maintained.
How to Get Rid Of a Migraine
For getting rid of a migraine properly, you need more than medicines. There are certain guidelines and steps which you need to follow for effectively preventing migraine or easing the pain. These steps are given below.
Have a Plan for Treatment
One of the primary steps you should have for fighting against migraines is to come up with a solid plan. If steps are taken properly, you can stop a migraine from turning into severe pain. Also, you will know your migraine’s triggering factors. Thus, you will have a better way to tackle them in the future as well. This plan will mainly contain which medicines to take in what phase of a headache, and which methods work best on you for stress releasing. If you already have a pre-planned medic chart ready, you do not have to worry about it later.
Do Early Treatment
One of the key factors of combating against migraines is timings. Your medication will be the most effective when it will be taken at an early stage. If you can recognize the symptoms or the warning signs of a migraine, take medicines immediately. For doing an early treatment, you should also be able to identify your pre-migraine symptoms. These symptoms are mainly irritation, anxiety, distraction, cravings, yawns, and so on. If you are having a migraine for some time, you will recognize your symptoms. Therefore, whenever such symptoms appear, treat yourself to prescribed medication.
Recognize the Causes
As mentioned earlier, you should learn to recognize the causes of your headache and treat yourself as early as possible. Once you know what the exact trigger causes of your migraine are, you can handle the pain in a better way. This is a simple yet effective step that you can take. After you have recognized your cause, you can take countermeasures to prevent these causes. Thus, your migraine prevention will be effective for a longer-term. You will also be ready to prevent migraines from occurring in the future as well. For example, if dehydration triggers your migraine, you can drink lots of water to avoid it.
Relax In a Dark and Quiet Place
It is a prove fact that extreme light and sound can easily cause headaches. For migraine patients, these are one of the primary triggering causes. Therefore, you should always move into a dark and noise-free room if possible, while under a migraine attack. Try to dim the lights of your room, and keep your eyes closed. If you can sleep, fall asleep immediately. If not, take rest as much as you can. You can also try out light breathing exercises that are designed to release stress. These can be particularly effective in easing the pain.
Take Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine-containing drinks, such as tea and coffee, are well-known stress releasers. It has also been seen that people with migraine attacks feel a lot comfortable after taking a cup of tea or coffee. This is because of the amount of caffeine contained in it. Caffeine is one of the main components of pain-relieving medicines of migraines. Taking caffeine via beverages and drinks can help a lot while coping with migraine pain. However, too much caffeine can trigger a headache on its own. Therefore, too much caffeine consumption should be avoided as well.
Apply Heat and Ice Packs
Temperature therapy, whether it is cold or hot, is extremely effective in treating migraines. The intensity and the level of heat or cold vary from person to person. Also, some people get better results in using cold treatment than hot and vice-versa. You can try out both, with different levels of intensity. Once you recognize which is the most suitable for you, try it to get much relief from the migraine pain.
The main thing while fighting migraine pain is that you have to use whatever options you have at present most effectively. Migraines are not like simple body pains. These pains need a lot to get rid of. Therefore, you should keep all options available. If you recognize your symptoms, treat them as early as possible, and maintain a controlled and stress-free lifestyle, your chances of migraine attacks will get automatically reduced.