Migraine care primarily revolves around pain management and preventative treatment. Exact treatment options may vary depending on the severity of a patient’s symptoms and their age (as well as any pre-existing medical conditions or medication usage).
Common forms of migraine/ headache treatment include:
Along with medication and other preventative treatments, lifestyle changes have been shown to help relieve the symptoms of migraines. These include:
- Relaxation techniques: Because migraines can be caused by stress, developing relaxation techniques, such as biofeedback, can help reduce the amount of stress-induced migraines you experience.
- Maintain a consistent sleeping and eating routine
- Stay hydrated
- Maintain a headache/migraine diary: Keeping a headache journal will help you figure out what causes your migraines and which treatments are the most helpful. It will also assist your doctor in diagnosing and tracking your illness between appointments.
- Exercise regularly: Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent migraines by reducing stress. Talk with your doctor and choose an aerobic exercise you love, such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Warm-up gradually, as quick, hard activity might result in headaches. Obesity is considered to be a role in migraines, therefore regular exercise can help you reduce weight or maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid triggering foods.
Migraine treatments aim to alleviate symptoms and prevent attacks in the future. The frequency and intensity of your headaches, whether you experience nausea and vomiting with your headaches, how disabling your headaches are, and any other medical problems you have will all influence your treatment options.
There are two types of headache medicine used to treat migraines:
- Medication for immediate pain relief. These medications are used during migraine attacks and are intended to relieve symptoms. Migraine pain relievers work best when used at the first sign of an impending migraine. These medications include pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and Advil), triptans (such as sumatriptan and rizatriptan), and ergotamine drugs (commonly sold as Migranal).
- Medications for prevention. To lessen the severity or frequency of migraines, these medications are used often used daily. Drugs used to prevent migraines include blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medication. A Botox injection every 12 weeks has also been shown to prevent migraines in adults.
Alternative therapies and stress management
A number of other treatment options have anecdotally helped patients suffering from migraines. These are generally not medically-tested solutions. Always consult with your doctor before pursuing a treatment plan.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been proven to be effective in the treatment of headache pain in clinical trials. During an acupuncture session, a practitioner inserts several tiny, disposable needles into different regions of your skin at specific points.
- Biofeedback: This relaxation technique has been effective for some people in relieving migraine pain. This relaxation method employs specialized technology to teach you how to track and regulate stress-related bodily reactions like muscular tension.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This form of psychotherapy teaches you how your actions and ideas influence your perception of pain.
- Meditation and yoga: If stress is a trigger for migraines, yoga and meditation may help reduce the frequency and duration of migraines, when done regularly.