Concussions And Other Head Injuries
If youve recently experienced a concussion or similar head injury, you could be dealing with an ongoing headache. This is called post-concussion syndrome, and its a mild injury to your brain caused by the initial trauma. It can last for months after a concussion possibly up to a year.
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:
- recurrent or ongoing headaches
A variety of treatment options, including home treatments and medical care, can help relieve symptoms of a prolonged headache.
Natural Headache Remedies: Try Butterbur Extract
An herb called butterbur has proven so effective for migraine relief that physicians who specialize in treating migraines often recommend it. One to look for: Petadolex, an over-the-counter butterbur extract, which is safe and effective, per a 2018 review in Cephalalgia Reports. The recommended dosage is taking 50 milligrams three times a day. These are some causes of migraines you should be aware of.
Preventive Medications And Treatments
A wide range of drugs may be prescribed to prevent migraine attacks from forming, and some medical treatments can help. Such approaches are considered especially in cases of chronic migraine, in which you have 15 or more headache episodes a month.
Several types of preventative migraine medications may be prescribed. The most common of these are:
- Tricyclic antidepressants: Elavil and Pamelor
- Beta-blockers: Tenormin and Inderal
- Antiepileptic drugs: Depakote and Topamax
- Calcium channel blockers: Calan
- Calcitonin gene-related monoclonal antibodies: Vyepti and Ajovy
Additionally, in cases in which medications arent yielding results, Botox injections can be considered. In this therapy, doctors target specific areas in your forehead, temples, the sides and back of the head, and the neck. Though the frequency and intensity of migraines are reduced, the effect is temporary, and appointments are needed every three months.
When the condition is associated with the menstrual cycle, hormone replacement therapy may be attempted.
When To Call The Doctor
Daily headaches, especially if they interfere with school or play.
Headaches caused by straining from coughing, sneezing, running or having a bowel movement.
Headaches that occur along with pain in the eye or ear, confusion, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, or numbness.
Headaches that keep coming back and get worse.
Headaches similar to those suffered by other family members.
Headaches following a head injury that don’t go away after a week.
Headaches severe enough to wake the child from sleep.
Natural Headache Remedies: Brew Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties. If stress is setting off your migraines, include activities into your day that help relax you. Brew up a cup: 1. bring 1 cup of water to a boil 2. add one chamomile tea bag 3. cover 4. let steep. Sweeten with honey, if desired. Take a few minutes to sip the hot tea slowly while sitting in a quiet spot. Dont miss these other 10 natural remedies for headaches.
Don’t Miss: Mayo Clinic Headache
Find A Quiet Dark Place To Relax
Sensitivity to light and sound is one of the most common migraine symptoms. Get away from these things if you can. This can help you find relief from your pain and can alleviate stress.
Lie down and pay attention to your breathing. Try taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Feel your stomach rise with the inhale and fall with the exhale. This can help you relax.
Dehydration can cause headaches and even migraine, but new research shows hydration can reduce and possibly even prevent headache pain. In the study, people who drank their recommended daily water intake had headaches that were:
- less frequent
- less severe
- shorter in duration
If you dont regularly drink enough water, increasing your intake may both help reduce your migraine pain and prevent repeat attacks.
Yoga Asanas And Pranayamas For Headache Relief
Strengthens the neck and shoulders.
Ensures that stress does not build up in the head region.
Reduces tension and fatigue.
Increases blood supply to the brain.
Strengthens the spine and shoulders.
Reduces stress in the head region.
Nadi Shodhan helps in stress relief.
Centers the mind.
Keeps the mind in the present moment.
Relieves tension, anxiety and stress.
It is advisable to round off your sessions with 20 minutes of meditation.
Read Also: Abdominal Migraine Mayo Clinic
Managing Migraines In General
Whatever your specific triggers, the following steps will help you manage your migraines.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Make sure you get enough sleep and try to fall asleep around the same time each night. Interruptions in your sleep schedulesuch as getting too much or too little sleepcan trigger migraines in some people.
Drink plenty of water. Eating regular meals and drinking enough water can help prevent migraines caused by a drop in blood sugar or dehydration. A common recommendation is to drink six or eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. However, some adults may need more, depending on how much they exercise, for example.
Be careful with coffee. Although caffeine can provide migraine relief , too much can cause migraines. Caffeine can be found in chocolate and cocoa beverages such as coffee, tea and colas and certain medications.
Limit alcohol. Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Red wine in particular triggers migraines in many people.
Watch what you eat. Many foods can trigger migraines. A few of the more common ones include peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds, chocolate, and foods containing tyramine, such as aged cheeses and cured meats.
Exercise regularly. Research has shown that regular, moderate aerobic exercise may reduce the severity, duration, and number of migraines in many people. Regular exercise also helps control stress, another migraine trigger.
By signing up, you agree to our and .
Stay Alert For Early Symptoms
Many people experience warning signs of an impending migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Early symptomsthose that happen before the actual migraine beginsare called the prodrome, or prodromal phase. These symptoms may start a few days or even just a few hours before the actual migraine. They include:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
About a third of all people who have migraines also have an aura phase about an hour before the migraine. Aura symptoms include numbness and tingling, temporary loss of sight and visual disturbances.
Recommended Reading: Can I Take Ibuprofen With Migraine Medicine
What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:
Eat regularly and do not skip meals.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
- Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.
Write Numbers With Your Nose
Lynne Robinson says: This simple pilates exercise can help mobilise the neck and ease some of the more common types of headache, such as those caused by tension.
Lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and parallel. Take a few breaths into the back and sides of your ribcage.
Now imagine an upright figure eight and draw the shape with your nose. Repeat three times, then change direction.
Then imagine the figure eight on its side. Trace again with your nose three times before changing direction. Finish with a gentle chin tuck, drawing your chin down and lengthening the back of your neck. Keep your head in contact with mat.
Don’t Miss: Complex Migraines With Stroke Like Symptoms
Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms.
Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain .
In one study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduced migraine pain .
To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant .
Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
For example, one study in 80 people demonstrated that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements per day reduced migraine frequency, severity and length .
Another study including 42 people who experienced frequent migraines found that three 100-mg doses of CoQ10 throughout the day helped decrease migraine frequency and migraine-related symptoms like nausea (
Treatment For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
In general, migraine treatment with medicines should be limited as much as possible when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Instead, trying to identify and avoid potential migraine triggers is often recommended.
If medicine is essential, your GP may prescribe you a low-dose painkiller, such as paracetamol.
In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicine or triptans may be prescribed.
Speak to a GP or your midwife before taking medicine when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022
Also Check: Does Tylenol Help With Tension Headaches
Tips For Instant Migraine Relief
The next time you find your brain scrambling to think straight, just remember to CHILL. This acronym makes it easy to remember proven ways to get rid a Migraine:
- Lights Off.
These 5 tips for instant Migraine relief give you the best chance for keeping that baby Migraine attack from turning into a roaring beast.
Order is not as important as speed – the faster you act to reduce your controllable triggers and symptoms, the better chance you’ll have of intercepting a full-blown Migraine attack before it starts.
Remove Anything Resting Tight On Your Head
Some migraine sufferers say that this simple step may provide relief. Remove tight items like a hat, goggles, headband or ponytail holder before they cause an external compression headache. External compressions headaches can lead to a migraine in people who suffer from them, if the item causing the compression is worn for a prolonged time.
You May Like: Natural Remedies For Vestibular Migraines
Add A Little Pressure
Although it may feel as though your head is under an incredible amount of pressure and pain, getting in touch with certain pressure points on the body can alleviate your discomfort.
When you begin to feel the first tinges of a migraine, place a bit of pressure on your craniosacral system. By pressing with your fingers on certain migraine-specific spots, you can force your brain to relax and rest, restarting it from a pain-free place. Though it increases pressure in the cranium, it works to send the tension that’s building in your brain elsewhere.
Image via Shutterstock
Drink A Glass Of Water
A drink of water might be the simplest and most effective of all home remedies for headaches: Dehydration leads to the loss of fluid from the brain, which causes it to pull away from the skull and stimulates pain receptors, which can impair your ability to concentrate, make you irritable, and worsen an existing headache, explains Rashmi Kulkarni, MD, a family medicine specialist at Gwinnett Medical Groups Covenant Family Medicine in Dacula, Georgia. To avoid dehydration, Dr. Kulkarni recommends drinking enough water throughout the day. This is what happens to your body when you start drinking enough water.
Read Also: Comorbid Headaches
When Are They Not Helpful
Migraine attacks can last for hoursor even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise and they can affect your life and work.
To treat migraines, you may be given a prescription for an opioid or a barbiturate called butalbital. These are pain medicines. But you should think twice about using these drugs for migraine. Heres why:
These drugs can make headaches worse.
Using too much pain medicine can lead to a condition called medication overuse headache . Two kinds of pain medicine are more likely to cause MOH:
- Drugs containing opioidssuch as codeine , morphine , Hycodan or oxycodone .
- Drugs containing butalbital .
They are not as effective as other migraine drugs.
There are other drugs that can reduce the number of migraines you have and how severe they arebetter than opioids and butalbital. Even in the emergency roomwhere people with severe migraines often ask for opioidsbetter drugs are available, including triptans.
Pack A Migraine Emergency Kit
Now I keep a Migraine Kit that includes two instant cold packs that I can carry on a plane or slip in a day pack, perfect for emergency migraine treatment on the go. They last twice as long as ordinary ice packs, too.
One note about the use of caffeine in beverages, chocolate, or Excedrin Migraine. If your Migraine attack was triggered by dehydration then coffee, tea, and soda will make it worse, not better. Further, the caffeine and Excedrin Migraine puts you at risk for a rebound cycle that will produce the same symptoms 8-24 hours later.
It’s best to stick with plain water when treating an attack. Or choose a drink that will soothe your stomach, like peppermint tea.
How to get rid of a Migraine fast? Try to CHILL before you pop a pill.
Remember these 5 tips for instant Migraine relief, and you’ll be feeling better in no time: cold, heat, inhale, liquid, and lights off. Replace panic with CHILL,
Read Also: Optical Migraine Symptoms Mayo Clinic
Massage The Pain Away
A regular massage may seem like a luxury, but when a migraine strikes, it can be the best way to relive all that’s built up in your head.
Learn how to give yourself a calming and pain relieving massage, and you can prevent your migraines from growing worse, quickly. As you stretch and massage both the neck and the base of the scalp, you will stimulate blood flow and relaxation, sending the pain away from your head.
Check out Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage for more on how to relieve the pain of headaches and migraines through massage.
Image via Shutterstock
What Are Some Migraine Risk Factors And Triggers
Some things make you more likely to get migraine headaches . Other things may bring on a migraine .
Common migraine risk factors include the following:
- Family history: You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.
- Sex: Women are more likely than men to have migraines.
- Age: Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.
Common migraine triggers include the following:
- Food and drink: Certain food and drink may cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines.
- Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
- Stress: Stress may trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or work, but your body can also be stressed if you exercise too much or dont get enough sleep.
- Senses: Loud sounds, bright lights , or strong smells may trigger migraines.
- Medicines: Certain medicines may trigger migraines. If you think your migraines might be related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine.
- Illness: Infections, such as the cold or the flu, may trigger migraines, especially in children.
Foods that may trigger migraines:
- aged, canned, cured, or processed meat
- aged cheese
- soy sauce
Don’t Miss: Ocular Migraine Duration
What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline
The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.
The phases are:
It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
Migraines are usually episodic and recurrent. The periods between the episodes are symptom-free. The duration of an episode and frequency varies with each individual and exposure to triggers. An episode may last for a few minutes to hours to days.
Migraine is more common in adults, though children may also suffer from migraines . Migraine is also more common in women.
A migraine episode is characterized by the following:
- Migraine aura: Migraine episode begins with an aura. The aura may either precede the migraine or accompany the headache attacks. The aura is a specific neurological symptom that is associated with the headache. It may be visual or sensory .
- Migraine attack: Intense headaches that usually occur on one side of the head and/or face. The pain may radiate to other parts of the head or neck. Pain may also be present behind the eye.
- Migraine headaches are usually associated with symptoms such as
- Visual disturbances: appearances of flashes of light, blurring of vision, or blind spots
- Numbness over one side of the face or arm
Medical management to prevent or reduce the frequency of episodes
- Beta-blockers: These medications lower blood pressure and prevent the blood vessels from dilating. These are the most commonly prescribed medication to prevent migraine attacks or reduce frequency.
- Other medications such as anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, immuno-modulators, or Botox injections may be advised.
- Treatment of underlying medical causes.
Don’t Miss: How Does Tylenol Work On Headache