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What To Do To Help Migraines

Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided

How to Treat Migraines at Home – 8 Tips

Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.

Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.

There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.

What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine

The best way to prevent migraine is to find out what triggers your attacks and avoid or limit these triggers. Since migraine headaches are more common during times of stress, finding healthy ways to cut down on and cope with stress might help. Talk with your doctor about starting a fitness program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.

Talk with your doctor if you need to take your pain-relief medicine more than twice a week. Doing so can lead to rebound headaches. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for you to help prevent migraine, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine. Talk with your doctor if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.

How Is Migraine Treated

Migraine disorder can’t be cured but you can relieve symptoms during an attack and prevent further attacks. Migraine varies between people and so does the treatment. Some things are commonly known to trigger migraine attacks in some people. Avoiding these triggers can reduce how often and how severe your migraine attacks are.

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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.

Can Using Birth Control Pills Make My Migraines Worse

Try These 9 Simple Headache Hacks for Fast Relief

In some women, birth control pills improve migraine. The pills may help reduce the number of attacks and their attacks may become less severe. But in other women, the pills may worsen their migraines. In still other women, taking birth control pills has no effect on their migraines.

The reason for these different responses is not well understood. For women whose migraines get worse when they take birth control pills, their attacks seem to occur during the last week of the cycle. This is because the last seven pills in most monthly pill packs don’t have hormones they are there to keep you in the habit of taking your birth control daily. Without the hormones, your body’s estrogen levels drop sharply. This may trigger migraine in some women.

Talk with your doctor if you think birth control pills are making your migraines worse. Switching to a pill pack in which all the pills for the entire month contain hormones and using that for three months in a row can improve headaches. Lifestyle changes, such as getting on a regular sleep pattern and eating healthy foods, can help too.

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Home Remedies For Migraine

In addition to medications, there are home remedies that may be helpful in decreasing migraine pain. Your healthcare provider can help you put together an action plan for a migraine attack. This plan can include your medications plus other things you can do at home to help yourself feel better.

For example, some people find that hot or cold packs used on the neck, head, or belly can be soothing. Acupressure can help with both pain and nausea. Self-massage or compression can also offer pain relief, though the effects may be temporary.

Changing your activity or environment can also help you get through a migraine attack. If you are sensitive to noise and light, consider moving to a dark, quiet room. Aromatherapy, especially with lavender or mint, can ease pain and help with nausea. Sleep is helpful for many people during a migraine and may even help the attack end.

Finally, learning about your migraine triggers can help you prevent and manage attacks. A headache diary can be a good way to figure out your triggers, so you can learn to avoid them.

When You Get A Migraine

Try to treat your symptoms right away. This may help make the headache less severe. When migraine symptoms begin:

  • Drink water to avoid dehydration, especially if you have vomited
  • Rest in a quiet, dark room
  • Place a cool cloth on your head
  • Avoid smoking or drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Try to sleep

Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, are often helpful when your migraine is mild.

Your health care provider may have prescribed medicines to stop a migraine. These drugs come in different forms. They may come as a nasal spray, rectal suppository, or injection instead of pills. Other medicines can treat nausea and vomiting.

Follow your provider’s instructions about how to take all of your medicines. Rebound headaches are headaches that keep coming back. They can occur from overuse of pain medicine. If you take pain medicine more than 3 days a week on a regular basis, you can develop rebound headaches.

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Key Points About Migraine Disease

  • About one in 10 people have migraine disease, with more women affected than men. It usually first occurs between 10 and 30 years of age, and may get better in middle age.
  • If you are over 50 and a severe headache occurs for the first time, see your doctor.
  • Some people have a migraine aura before the headache begins. This could be problems with your eyes , dizziness or pins and needles.
  • Treatment includes lifestyle changes and using medicines for relief or, in some cases, to stop a migraine attack from happening.
  • See your doctor if treatments are not helping or if your migraine attacks are happening more often or getting more severe.
  • What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

    How to Treat Migraines & Head Colds : How to Help a Sinus Headache
    • Will my child grow out of their migraines?
    • What medications do you recommend for me?
    • What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
    • Should I get tested?
    • What type of migraine do I have?
    • What can my friends and family do to help?
    • Are my migraines considered chronic?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.

    References

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    When Should I Call An Ambulance

    Most headaches are not serious. But headaches can also be a sign of a serious illness, such as a stroke or meningitis.

    • it comes on suddenly, is very severe, or has made you lose consciousness
    • you have suffered a head injury
    • you have trouble seeing, walking or speaking
    • your arms or legs feel numb
    • you have nausea or vomiting
    • you have a high fever
    • you are sensitive to light and have a new rash

    What Are The Symptoms Of A Migraine

    Individual migraines are moderate to severe in intensity, often characterized by a throbbing or pounding feeling. Although they are frequently one-sided, they may occur anywhere on the head, neck and face or all over. At their worst, they are typically associated with sensitivity to light, noise and/or smells. Nausea is one of the most common symptoms and it worsens with activity, which often results in patient disability. In many respects, migraines are much like alcohol-related hangovers.

    Migraine pain can be felt in the face, where it may be mistaken for sinus headache or in the neck, where it may be mistaken for arthritis or muscle spasm. Complicating the diagnosis of migraine is that the headaches may be accompanied by other “sinus like” symptoms, including watering eyes, nasal congestion and a sense of facial pressure. Most patients who think they have sinus headache in fact have migraines.

    In up to 25 percent of patients, the migraine headache pain may be preceded by an aura, a temporary neurological syndrome that slowly progresses and then typically resolves just as the pain begins. While the most common type of migraine aura involves visual disturbances , many people experience numbness, confusion, trouble speaking, vertigo and other strokelike neurological symptoms. Some patients may experience auras without headaches.

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    Limit The Use Of All Pain Medicines

    • Do not use prescription pain medicine for headaches for more than nine days in a month.
    • Do not use non-prescription pain medicine for more than 14 days in a month.

    This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.

    02/2013

    Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress

    Handy Charts to Help Deal with Migraines

    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 (

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    Can Stress Cause Migraines

    Yes. Stress can trigger both migraine and tension-type headache. Events like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a baby can cause stress. But studies show that everyday stresses not major life changes cause most headaches. Juggling many roles, such as being a mother and wife, having a career, and financial pressures, can be daily stresses for women.

    Making time for yourself and finding healthy ways to deal with stress are important. Some things you can do to help prevent or reduce stress include:

    • Eating healthy foods
    • Being active
    • Doing relaxation exercises
    • Getting enough sleep

    Try to figure out what causes you to feel stressed. You may be able to cut out some of these stressors. For example, if driving to work is stressful, try taking the bus or subway. You can take this time to read or listen to music, rather than deal with traffic. For stressors you can’t avoid, keeping organized and doing as much as you can ahead of time will help you to feel in control.

    Food Drink And Supplements

    Food and drink can be important to consider during a migraine attack. Staying hydrated either with water or electrolyte-replacement drinks may help improve fatigue and control pain. This is especially important if you have been vomiting. Although food does not appear to help a migraine attack already in progress, a healthy diet and weight may make your migraines overall less frequent and less painful.

    Caffeine can help reduce headache pain, especially if used at the start of a headache. But too much caffeine may actually cause withdrawal headaches, especially if used on a daily basis. Talk to your healthcare provider about using caffeine carefully if it is helpful during your migraine attacks.

    There are many herbs and supplements that may help prevent migraines. For an acute attack, ginger powder may be especially helpful. In one study, ginger worked as well as sumatriptan in providing migraine relief. Ginger is also an inexpensive and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting.

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    Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

    Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

    • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
    • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
    • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
    • Smoking.

    When Should You See A Specialist For Your Headaches

    How to instantly stop a Migraine!

    If these symptoms, triggers and patterns sound familiar then the best thing you can is to find a specialist as soon as possible.

    Ansari says he spends at least an hour with his patients going over their family and medical history to pinpoint what theyre dealing with and develop a course of treatment.

    It’s also recommended to keep a headache diary, where you can keep track of certain details like how often you get a headache and what you ate before the attack. Ansari says that will help a doctor to better understand your condition and what you’re dealing with.

    Ansari likes to remind everyone suffering from headaches that they’re not alone and seeking help is the first step to feeling better.

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    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.

    How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension

    Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.

    Migraine vs. bad tension-type headache

    Symptom
    Aura before onset of headachex

    Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.

    Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.

    There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.

    You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.

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    Here Are 13 Ways You Can Relieve Headaches At Home

    1. Drink water

    Dehydration is one of the biggest culprits of headaches. Even mild levels of dehydration can impact your mood, performance, and the likelihood of getting a headache. Dehydration occurs when your body doesnt receive enough fluids, and the related headache is typically accompanied by other signs. This includes dark urine, brain fog, and fatigue. Research has shown that dehydration can even shrink brain tissue, causing it to pull away from the skull. No wonder that causes headaches!

    2. Skip alcohol

    Got a headache? Skip the cocktail. Alcohol has been found to trigger headaches in people who are already prone to them. That includes migraines and tension headaches. Alcohol also leads to dehydration and fluid loss, which can also trigger headaches.

    3. Use a cold pack or compress

    Placing a cold pack on your forehead may help ease a headache. Put ice cubes in a bag and wrap them in a towel, or use a bag of frozen vegetables. Keep the cold pack on your head for 10 minutes and take a break. Repeat if necessary. You can also try taking a cold shower.

    4. Check whats on your head

    Are you wearing a tight headband? Got a ponytail tied tightly? Is your hair in a bun? Are you wearing a hat or a visor? All of these things can cause headaches if theyre too tight or too heavy. Easing pressure on your head may help relieve headache discomfort.

    5. Turn down the lights

    6. Practice massage

    7. Get adequate sleep

    8. Try topical essential oils

    9. Take magnesium

    12. Do yoga

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