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.
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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider
- You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
- You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
- Your headache comes on suddenly.
- You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:
- The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
- Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.
How Do You Know Which Pressure Points To Target
For migraine relief, the most important pressure point to know to relieve headache pain is the space between the base of your thumb and your index finger. For those who want to be acupressure experts, itâs called LI-4 .
Other potentially useful points include your inner wrist, on the same side as your thumb , and the back of your jawbone, just below your ear .
If your migraine attacks come with nausea, you could also try the depression between your leg muscles and shin bones, right below your kneecaps .
Take a look at our handy reference guide below if youâre having trouble finding them.
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How To Relieve Migraine Pain
Unlike tension headaches, migraine pain has the power to stop you in your tracks. While your doctor can help, you can also try to get some relief on your own and control your migraine before it controls you.
Acetaminophen :An effective pain reliever, acetaminophen belongs to a class of drugs that is known to reduce pain and relieve fevers.1 One key benefit of acetaminophen is that it doesnt irritate the stomach.
Caffeine:TYLENOL® Ultra Relief contains the trusted pain relief of TYLENOL® combined with caffeine to provide superior relief. Clinical studies have proven that an acetaminophen and caffeine combination relieves headache pain more effectively than acetaminophen alone.
Natural remedies to relieve migraines:As an alternative solution to relieving your migraine pain, you can also try natural remedies. There are a number of herbal medicines that might be able to offer the relief you want.
For example, feverfew is a popular herbal remedy that is used to prevent migraines. However, it will not relieve migraines once they have begun.2
Other tips and practices:Lastly, there are several home-remedy treatments that can help alleviate your pain. Here are some ways you can find relief:
Lie down in a dark room. Migraines can worsen or be triggered with bright light and high volumes of noise.3 At the first sign of a migraine, relax in a dark and quiet place – and if possible, meditate, take a nap or at the very least, rest your eyes.
Vitamins And Natural Treatments
Along with medical management and lifestyle changes, some doctors may also recommend you take certain vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements. These may include:
Always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements. They can help you determine if the supplement is safe for you and doesn’t interfere with any of your medications.
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Adopt A Headache Diet
Certain foods, while delicious, have been known to contribute to headaches. Try keeping a headache diary of the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis or specifically when you experience a headache.
If you identify a particular trigger, avoid it for some time and see if the headaches reduce. Possible problem foods include:
Caffeine-containing foods and beverages. Examples include chocolate, coffee, cola, and tea.
Monosodium glutamate-containing foods. MSG is used as a preservative and has traditionally been used in some Asian cooking. Its also found in foods like instant ramen noodles.
Nitrate-containing foods. Most simple meats, such as hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, and pepperoni can cause headaches.
Tyramine-containing foods. Tyramine is a compound produced by the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, and its found in foods like pizza and aged cheeses.
The warmth and comfort of a steaming cup of herbal tea makes it an excellent way to wind down at night. Those same soothing qualities can have pain-relieving effects. Because herbs can interact with medical conditions and medications, its important to check with a doctor before drinking these teas.
Favorites for relaxation include chamomile, ginger, and dandelion.
Acute Migraine Headache: Treatment Strategies
LAURA MAYANS, MD, MPH, and ANNE WALLING, MB, ChB, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, Kansas
Am Fam Physician. 2018 Feb 15 97:243-251.
Patient information: A handout on this topic is available at .
Migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by recurrent attacks. Acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, triptans, antiemetics, ergot alkaloids, and combination analgesics have evidence supporting their effectiveness in the treatment of migraine. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are first-line treatments for mild to moderate migraines, whereas triptans are first-line treatments for moderate to severe migraines. Although triptans are effective, they may be expensive. Other medications such as dihydroergotamine and antiemetics are recommended for use as second- or third-line therapy for select patients or for those with refractory migraine. The pharmacologic properties, potential adverse effects, cost, and routes of administration vary widely, allowing therapy to be individualized based on the pattern and severity of attacks. Several treatment principles, including taking medication early in an attack and using a stratified treatment approach, can help ensure that migraine treatment is cost-effective.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Recommendations from the Choosing Wisely Campaign
BEST PRACTICES IN NEUROLOGY
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Start Drinking Grape Juice
This natural treatment can do wonders for pain. Though very few people drink grape juice, but it is the most effective treatment to get rid of a migraine fast and naturally. Grapes are amazing pain reliever they provide instant relief in the pain. So, start drinking natural grape juice on a regular basis to treat a migraine. You may prepare grape juice by grinding fresh grapes with a little amount of water.
What Are The Stages Of A Migraine
Migraines develop in four main phases of symptoms: prodromal phase, aura phase, attack phase, and postdromal phase. Not every migraine follows the same phases, but knowing them can help you treat it early and recognize changes.
Hours or even a day before the migraine and you may experience the following :
- Energetic excited, depressed, or irritable
- The need to urinate more than usual
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:
- Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
- Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
- Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
- Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
- Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
- Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
- Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
- Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
- Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.
What Are Common Migraine Symptoms
Migraine progresses in four distinct phases, although not every person who gets migraine will go through all of them. That said, you might experience, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
Prodrome: This is the preheadache phase when you may start to see some warning signs like neck stiffness, mood changes, and frequent yawning. The prodrome phase can happen about 24 to 48 hours before the headache starts. Approximately 30% of people who get migraine experience these preheadache symptoms.
Aura: Up to 20% of people with migraine will experience sensory changes known as an aura. Most commonly, an aura changes how you see things, so you might notice sparkles, dots, flashing lights, wavy lines, or blind spots in your vision. Aside from affecting your eyes, an aura can make you feel numb, tingly, and cause ringing in your ears. These symptoms usually disappear just before the pain in the head begins. Headaches that occur with auras are known as migraine with aura, and headaches that dont are known as migraine without aura.
Attack: This is when the actual migraine head pain hitsand you may also have nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, as we mentioned above.
Postdrome: After an attack ends, some people get a migraine hangover, meaning they feel depleted, fatigued, and just out of it for a day or so. Postdrome is more common than prodrome, with roughly 80% of people who deal with migraine getting to this stage.
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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine
Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:
- Visual symptoms or vision loss.
- Sensory symptoms .
Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:
- The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
- Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.
Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
- Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.
What Are The Causes Of A Migraine
Migraines arent the same as other types of headaches. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease in which there is an interplay between the pain neurons in the brain and the blood vessels.
Migraines can be set off by different stimuli, foods, and conditions. These triggers vary from person to person, with the most common including:
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How Are Migraines Treated
Migraines can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen , ibuprofen , or naproxen or with prescription medicines from your doctor. When a migraine hits, it may also help to lie down in a dark room and try to sleep.
To prevent migraines, try to avoid things you know can trigger your migraines and try to get regular exercise. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help prevent migraines.
Where Does The Information Come From
Researchers reviewed studies on medicines to treat migraines in the ER. These studies were published through January 2012. The researchers were funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a Federal Government research agency.
The researchers wrote a report on what they found, and this summary is based on that report. The report was reviewed by doctors, researchers, other experts, and the public. You can read the report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/migraine-emergency.cfm.
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Monitor Your Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability is the measure of time between successive heartbeats. It is a good measure of your autonomic nervous system balance. Generally the higher your HRV, the better your body can handle stress.
Knowing your HRV could give you an early warning of a migraine attack. Research shows a strong association between migraines, headaches, and imbalances in the autonomic nervous system.
One study found that migraine patients had reduced parasympathetic activity with high sympathetic activity .
Monitor your HRV to know when to plan stressful activities or relaxing activities.
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.
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Avoid These Migraine Trigger Foods
Processed foods, high in histamine, nitrates, and nitrites, can trigger migraines.
Histamine is a natural compound in your body that helps initiate immune and inflammatory responses . It also interacts with the central nervous system and may affect your bodys migraine response .
Foods high in histamine are processed meat, dairy, and fish, and fermented foods including beer and wine .
In healthy individuals, histamine is quickly detoxified by the enzyme amine oxidase . Those with low amine oxidase activity have a higher risk of histamine toxicity. Excess histamine can cause numerous allergy-like symptoms and headaches.
Nitrates, Nitrites, and Migraines
Nitrates and nitrites are used as food preservatives added to processed meat to prevent microbial growth. Processed foods containing nitrates can trigger migraines possibly by causing blood vessels to expand .
Limiting processed foods is inexpensive and low-risk migraine prevention.
Home Remedies To Help Prevent Migraine
The best way to prevent migraine is by sticking to a routine that works for you. This is because keeping things predictableeven down to what time you eat or how long you sleep each nightcan help you identify potential migraine triggers. Put simply, if something is off in your routine, and then you get migraine, you have an obvious suspect for the cause. Even though its impossible to prevent migraine 100% of the time, the tips below can make them less frequent for some people:
Migraine is awful, no doubt, but it doesnt have to control everything you do. Having a consistent schedule and routine is helpful, but you dont have to go overboard with it. In fact, doing so can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, which, ultimately, is a migraine trigger itself. Sometimes people get very preoccupied with journaling, Dr. Csere says. It can kind of take over your life.
Just stick to the basics: Write down when you have a gnarly headache, note if it was mild or severe, and consider any obvious triggers that could have been linked to it. Even these general notes can help provide your doctor with valuable information without overloading yourself with homework.
Remember: You shouldnt have to live with the pain. With a personalized approachwhich will likely include a little bit of trial and erroryou can develop a treatment plan that can give you relief and make migraine feel much more manageable so you dont have to live in fear of the next attack.
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What Causes Migraines
Doctors dont know exactly what causes migraines. It appears that migraine headaches may be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, and it can have an effect on the blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict . When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate . This swelling can cause pain or other problems. Another aspect that is being studied is that migraine headaches go along with a spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain.
Some research suggests there could be a heredity factor for migraines, meaning they may run in families. Researchers have identified some genes associated with migraines. They are unsure, though, why these genes seem to impact some people more than others. The American Migraine Foundation reports that if one of your parents has migraines, there is a 50% chance that you will, too. If both of your parents have migraines, your chances jump up to 75%. Ultimately, migraines seem to be caused by a combination of factors: genetic, environmental, and lifestyle.
Women are more likely to have chronic migraines . This is likely linked to hormones. Hormones fluctuate each month around the time of your period. They can also fluctuate if you are pregnant or going through menopause.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration could be the reason for your headache. You can simply get relief from the ache by rehydrating your body. Simply drinking water at the first warning of a headache and continue taking small sips during the day. Along with water, you can also drink sports drinks. The electrolytes present in sports drinks can cure headaches and migraines caused by dehydration and tension. While suffering from a headache, avoid drinks like alcohol that can dehydrate your body.
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How Can It Help Relieve Migraine Pain
Acupressure is said to be helpful for people dealing with depression, anxiety, nausea, chemotherapy side effects, and many other conditions. The idea is that any physical or emotional pain can be partly relieved by acupressure, so it almost goes without saying that it can be useful for migraineurs â especially when you consider that itâs free, usually safe for most people, and simple enough that you might even be able to perform it on yourself during a migraine.
Try Ginger Herbal Tea
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory loaded with antioxidants .
One study compared the effectiveness of ginger to one of the best selling migraine treatment drugs .
Participants were randomly chosen to take just one-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger or a full dose of the drug.
Both groups had the same relief, but the drug group reported significantly more side effects. Side effects of the drug included dizziness, a sedative effect, heartburn, and vertigo. The only side effect in the ginger group was an upset stomach in about 4% of participants.
Ginger also helps ease two other migraine symptoms, nausea, and vomiting.
Ginger is a cheap and effective natural migraine remedy with relatively few side effects. You can use a ginger supplement, grind it in your food, or brew it in tea.
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