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How To Treat Migraine At Home

Add A Little Pressure

How to Treat Migraines at Home – 8 Tips

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

Whats A Migraine Journal

  • Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
  • The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
  • What are your symptoms? Be specific.
  • Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
  • Note the weather.
  • Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
  • Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
  • Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
  • List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
  • How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
  • Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?

Prescription Drugs For Quick Migraine Relief

Headaches caused by migraine frequently occur along with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many people experience a migraine attack as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Treating migraine symptoms right away can shorten the attack.

The types of medications that can alleviate symptoms once a migraine attack has started are known as acute, abortive, or rescue medications. These include OTC pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, prescription medications called triptans, and a new class of drugs called CGRP receptor antagonists.

Triptans Triptans are selective-serotonin receptor agonists, which means that they are believed to stimulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the brain, to reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels, which in turn stops the headache or migraine attack, according to the National Headache Foundation.

There are currently seven triptan drugs available in the United States: Axert , Relpax , Frova , Amerge , Maxalt , Imitrex , and Zomig . All are available in pill form two, Imitrex and Zomig, come as a nasal spray and one, Imitrex are sold in an injectable form.

Other Acute Migraine Treatments Other medications that may be used for acute treatment of migraine include:

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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:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

    Butterbur Is Sometimes Used For Migraine Prevention

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    Extracts from the leaves and roots of the butterbur plant have been used for the treatment of migraine.

    A review of evidence on natural remedies published in March 2016 in Headache concluded butterbur was effective in helping prevent migraine. The analysis included a trial in which the supplement reduced the frequency of migraine by 48 percent, compared with 26 percent in the control group.

    On the basis of those studies, the American Headache Society, the Canadian Headache Society, and the American Academy of Neurology all recommended butterbur for use in preventing migraine.

    The American Academy of Neurology later retracted its recommendation because of concerns about liver toxicity.

    According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, butterbur products that contain chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids may damage the liver, lungs, and blood circulation, and possibly cause cancer. Consumers should therefore consider using only products that are certified PA-free.

    Butterbur is usually taken orally and, according to an article in StatPearls, the recommended dose is between 50 and 150 mg. Since butterbur can interact with certain drugs, its advised that you talk with your doctor before taking it or any other herbal supplement.

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    When To See A Doctor About Headaches

    Dont power through regular head pain solo. See a doctor if youre experiencing headaches once per week or more or if they interfere with your everyday life. Not only can healthcare providers prescribe you medication, but they can also identify a potential underlying medical condition. Major red flags include:

    • Headaches with an explosive onset
    • Headaches that come on during certain activities
    • Headaches with fever or stiff neck
    • Headaches associated with changes in cognition
    • Headaches with weakness or numbness
    • Headaches that start after age 50

    Play it safe and always seek out professional help if you have any concern about your health. The American Migraine Foundation offers resources for how to talk to your practitioner about headaches in order to help you find the best plan of action.

    Prevent The Next Migraine

    The best thing you can do for yourself if you experience frequent migraines is to take as many steps as possible to prevent a migraine ahead of time. That includes getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, pinpointing your food and beverage triggers so you can avoid them, and getting enough magnesium in your diet. If you experience frequent migraines, you could also talk to your doctor about the possibility of being prescribed preventive medication.

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    What Is An Aura

    An aura is a group of sensory, motor and speech symptoms that usually act like warning signals that a migraine headache is about to begin. Commonly misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, it typically happens before the headache pain, but can sometimes appear during or even after. An aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes. About 15% to 20% of people who experience migraines have auras.

    Aura symptoms are reversible, meaning that they can be stopped/healed. An aura produces symptoms that may include:

    • Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights.
    • Blind spots in your vision.
    • Numb or tingling skin.

    Reach For An Ice Pack Or Hot Pack

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    Which one you prefer is up to you, but they both can help with migraines and headaches. “Ice packs work because they basically numb the area,” Dr. Newman says. “Hot packs work because they increase the blood flow to that area.” If you’re at home, try stepping in the shower and letting the warm water hit your head.

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    Standard Treatments For Migraine

    Your doctor will likely prescribe you standard medications for migraines based on various factors such as:

    • Medical history and overall health
    • Age
    • Endurance towards specific medications or therapies
    • Severity of headache
    • Frequency of occurrence

    Mostly, the treatment plan is aimed at curtailing the presence of factors that act as possible triggers and cause a migraine attack. This includes prescribing conventional medications, introducing dietary changes, advising biofeedback training, and incorporating ways to manage stress.

    Placebo Responses To Medications

    The placebo response tends to a negative reputation. It is often used to say something is not an active medicine, its just a placebo. The truth is every treatment contains some component of the placebo effect. Even with registered prescription medicines, theyll have some biological effect and a non-specific or placebo effect. This biologically active molecule will have an impact on your physiology which causes the specific effect of that treatment. Associated with the treatment are a whole range of contextual cues and expectations that create nonspecific treatment effects. It is the sum of whats happened to your biology, and those nonspecific effects that give you the end result.

    That is part of the reason why one person might respond to one thing, and another person responds to something else. Or you respond on one day to something, and then you dont respond to it on another day. These may be small variances, but it is interesting to see that this has been clinically shown to affect treatment response.

    Factors shown to influence the outcome or your response to treatment can be divided in to three categories. These factors:

    • Relate to the patient
    • Relate to the health practitioner
    • Relate to the treatment

    Theres also crossover between some of the other factors. For example if your health practitioner believes in the treatment that theyre giving you, its more likely to work for you.

    Headache Diaries

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    Magnesium May Reduce Migraine Frequency And Intensity

    Magnesium can be taken as a natural supplement to prevent migraine attacks, says Nada Hindiyeh, MD, a headache specialist and researcher at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California.

    In a meta-analysis published in 2016 in Pain Physician, oral magnesium was shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. There was also evidence that intravenous magnesium could help reduce the severity of an acute migraine attack within 15 to 45 minutes.

    Many healthy foods provide magnesium, including bananas, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, dark chocolate, and leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard.

    How Are Migraines Diagnosed

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    To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will

    • Take your medical history
    • Ask about your symptoms
    • Do a physical and neurological exam

    An important part of diagnosing migraines is to rule out other medical conditions which could be causing the symptoms. So you may also have blood tests, an MRI or CT scan, or other tests.

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    Are Migraines Hereditary

    Migraines tend to run in families. As many as four out of five people with migraines have a family history. If one parent has a history of migraines, their child has a 50% chance of having them. If both parents have a history of migraines, the risk jumps to 75%. Again, up to 80% of people with migraines have a first-degree relative with the disease.

    What Is A Migraine

    People describe migraine headaches as pulsing, pounding, or throbbing pain, often occurring on one area of the head. For some people, the pain is accompanied by sensitivity to light and sometimes nausea or vomiting. Bottom line? Migraines hurt.

    One in four migraine sufferers also experiences aura” sensory disturbances that occur before a migraine strikes. The most common are spots, flashing lights, zigzags, or blind spots. Patients may also have tingling or numbness on one side of the body or face or concerns with speech, such as slurred speech or the inability to find the right word.

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    Natural Home Remedies For Headaches During Pregnancy

    Many of the natural remedies work safely in pregnancy, but any treatment decision must be discussed with the woman’s obstetrician or midwife.

    • Non-medication strategies help pregnant women get relief while avoiding both over-the-counter medications and herbs that may not be safe.
    • Hydration is critical. Dehydration is common in pregnancy. A large glass of mineral water or electrolyte-replacement beverage can resolve dehydration.
    • Blood pressure is often high in pregnancy and can be a cause of headache. High blood pressure requires treatment.
    • Relaxation, magnesium, and avoiding salt all help with headaches related to high blood pressure.
    • Hydrotherapy, the therapeutic use of hot and cold, is helpful and safe in pregnancy. Apply a hot pack to the head and the back of the neck. This can be paired with a short application of an ice pack to maximize the relief.

    Take A Break From Screens

    “How to treat heavy headache at home”.

    One of the most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain is headaches, the American Optometric Association states. Whether its a computer, cell phone, or tablet, just scrolling up and down can trigger headaches in some people, Dr. Newman says. To prevent discomfort, the AOA recommends following whats called the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20 second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

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    A Cold Compress Or Ice Pack Can Help Lessen Pain

    Although both ice and heat can be used to relieve pain, most people with migraine prefer cold, according to the National Headache Foundation.

    Cold packs can be placed on the forehead and temples or on the back of the neck, if you prefer. Its best to keep a cloth between your skin and an ice pack if you use a commercial cold pack, make sure there are no leaks where chemicals could escape and potentially harm your eyes.

    Home Remedies To Ease A Headache Or Migraine Attack

    Many headache symptoms can be at least partially alleviated without medication. Here are some tips for homemade headache and migraine relief:

    Apply an ice pack to your head and neck. Cold compresses on the head and neck are a common home remedy to ease the pain of a migraine attack. Some people also find it helpful for tension headaches. To avoid skin injury, wrap the ice or cold pack in a cloth and apply it for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

    Apply heat to the head, neck, or hands and feet. Applying heat may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful, or simply run warm water over your hands and feet.

    Have a big glass of water.Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack or lead to a nonmigraine headache, says the National Headache Foundation. Replacing the liquids your body needs may help to relieve the pain.

    Practice a relaxation technique. Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. “Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches,” says Rozental.

    Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes helps to reduce headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.

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    Q: Are There Different Types Of Tension Headaches

    A: We categorize tension headaches as episodic or chronic.Episodic tension headaches are milder, less frequent and relativelyshort-lived.

    If someone reaches a threshold of 15 headache days a month, orrealizes their headaches are affecting their life quality, we would label thoseas chronic tension headaches.

    Peppermint For Migraines Treatment

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    Using peppermint is one of the best home remedies to cure migraines. Peppermint helps to soothe the nerves due to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. The smell of this herb reduces the pain.

    Steps to Use Peppermint to Treat Migraines Fast:

    • Prepare a peppermint tea by adding honey to it.
    • Drink it as needed to cure migraine headache.
    • An alternate method, massage your temples with 1 drop of peppermint essential oil or a combination of lavender and peppermint oils. Keep it for at least half an hour.
    • Do this many times a day until you get relief from headache.

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    Possible Causes Of Migraine

    There are no definitive causes behind the occurrence of migraine in an individual. However, it can be triggered by certain factors that tend to bring about changes in the levels of the neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are largely responsible for the sound functioning of the brain.

    The factors that can engender a migraine headache include:

  • Familial migraines About 75% of all migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines.
  • Certain food items These include cheese, red wine, monosodium glutamate , chocolate among many others.
  • Hormonal changes The different phases of reproductive life, namely, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, and the use of oral contraceptive pills that change the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the female body are also associated with migraine.
  • Excessive stress can lead to a migraine attack.
  • Weather changes, such as changes in pressure, heat, and temperature, can induce a migraine attack.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages such as red wine and beer are also recognized as a possible cause in some individuals.
  • Dehydration can plummet the levels of fluid in the body and induce a migraine headache in specific individuals.
  • A change in routine including sleep patterns and eating patterns is identified as a possible cause.
  • Keeping a watch on your triggers can help you determine the actual cause behind your headaches.


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