Migraine is a common pain disorder that is characterized by attacks of headaches. They last between a few hours to a couple of days. These headaches can be severe enough to disrupt work and other daily activities.
The frequency of the headaches can vary from one person to another. In some cases, the headaches may occur many times per week and in some others, the frequency maybe once or twice a year.
Migraines are not the same as other headaches as the former comes with symptoms such as vomiting, sensitivity to light, nausea and severe pain.
There is a host of methods available for treating migraine though there is no permanent cure for the condition. It may take some time before you find out the best treatment that works for you. It can help to have a proper treatment plan to deal with your condition.
It would take into account the severity and frequency of the headaches, the symptoms and the presence of other medical issues if any-this can help you find the best treatment for your condition.
Many sufferers have found that migraine painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen can help to lower the symptoms. The medicines need to be taken the moment the attacks come so that they get the time to get into your bloodstream and give you relief. It is advised that you do not wait till the headache becomes worse as usually by this time it is too late for the medicines to work. Soluble pain killers are good as they are quickly absorbed into the body.
You might have to try various combinations of medications before you find the one that suits you best. In case you are unable to manage your migraine with over-the-counter drugs, your doctor may recommend something stronger.
There are two kinds of medicines that are used to treat migraine: abortive and preventive.
1. Abortive – this kind of drugs help to combat migraine after it has already started or when you feel that it is about to begin. It is taken through the mouth or as a nasal spray or a skin patch. The drugs work quickly to provide relief from symptoms such as nausea.
2. preventive- this kind of drugs is used to treat the condition if it happens frequently. The aim is to decrease the frequency and severity of the condition. Such medicines are to be taken every day.
If you are taking migraine painkillers, it is important that you keep the following points in mind. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and stick to the recommended dosage. Certain migraine painkillers should not be administered to children below the age of 16 years and pregnant women. Also, adults who face, stomach problems such as kidney, liver and stomach issues should stay away from ibuprofen and aspirin.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies
Home remedies can go a long way towards helping ease the pain and other symptoms of a migraine attack. You can benefit from making some lifestyle changes too.
1. Stay away from triggers – it is important to know your triggers and do your best to avoid them. If some foods, or alcohol, or cigarette smoke or odors have caused you migraine in the past, it is best to stay away from them.
2. Reduce estrogen – for women, if estrogen is your trigger, avoid medication that contain the hormone such as hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills. Your doctor can help find alternative medicines for you.
3. Exercise regimen – aerobic exercises have been found to be helpful in releasing tension and reducing your migraine attacks. You can choose from cycling, walking and swimming. Obesity is an important contributing factor in migraines; exercising regularly can help you to maintain your weight.
4. Relaxation techniques – these have been proven to work wonders for migraine treatment and bring considerable relief to sufferers. Yoga, breathing, meditation and other such methods can be very helpful.
5. Adequate sleep – the proper rest is crucial to keep migraines at bay. It is also good to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
6. Make notes – maintaining a headache diary where you note down the triggers and symptoms after every attack will help you understand your condition better. It will also help you know the migraine treatment that would be most effective.
For chronic migraine, it can be helpful to take recourse to alternative therapies too. Many people have benefitted from acupuncture, massage therapy, behavioral therapy and taking of certain herbs. It is recommended that you consult your doctor before you start any of the migraine treatment methods to know if it would be right for you.