Migraines aren’t typical headaches or even a severe one. It’s a serious neurological condition that can trigger symptoms like vomiting, nausea, dizziness, numbness, and sensitivity to light and sound. When a migraine strikes, you’ll do almost anything to make it go away.
Based upon your severity, there are different approaches I recommend you use to help alleviate, treat and prevent migraines.
Some non-medication approaches include:
- Following a healthy lifestyle, staying well hydrated, getting regular exercise, and getting adequate sleep.
- Avoiding certain foods that can be migraine triggers. Common triggers can be alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, canned foods, cured or processed meats, aged cheeses, cultured dairy, MSG and aspartame.
- Acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, spinal manipulation, relaxation techniques and reducing your stress.
Even if you avoid your triggers and practice healthy habits, you may still experience migraines. Some patients who suffer with frequent migraines—greater than 14 headache days a month—can find relief from preventative medications that are taken daily.
Abortive medications, ones that are taken at the first sign of the migraine, include anti-inflammatory medications, triptans and a newer class of medications called CGRP antagonists.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen along with other over the counter medications like Excedrin and acetaminophen need to be used cautiously as taking these medications too often for headaches can result in rebound headaches.
- Triptans are a class of medications that are available in multiple preparations and can be given by mouth, nasal spray or subcutaneous injection. These should be used with caution in anyone with cardiovascular disease.
- Calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP) antagonists have shown benefit for individuals who get insufficient response to other abortive medications or have contraindications to them.
It is important to remember that migraines affect and present in different ways for each individual and not all treatments are suitable for everyone. Please make sure to talk to your doctor to come up with the best treatment approach for you.