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What To Take For Migraine Headache

How Do I Know If Otc Medications Are Right For Me

Migraine Headaches : How to Cure a Migraine

Its always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider about any medicines you are taking, even those that are OTC. You may have other conditions that affect whether these medicines are right for you. The following chart can provide some clues as to whether or not OTC medications are right for you.

Probably okay to use*

What Are The Different Types Of Migraine Medications

Migraine medications fall into two major categories.

  • The first contains drugs that abort or stop migraines from progressing once they begin. The earlier these drugs are used in a migraine attack, the better they work.
  • The second category contains drugs that prevent migraines from happening.

Over-the-counter migraine medications used to address pain include analgesics, NSAIDS, and caffeine, including:

  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Or combinations of these

One drawback to using analgesics and NSAIDs is that taking them daily can make headaches worse due to medication overuse.

Prescription drugs used to provide relief from pain include

  • NSAIDs and

Like over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs often come in combinations.

  • A barbiturate called butalbital is often used in combination with acetaminophen, and
  • caffeine with or without codeine .

Barbiturates are a sedative and may be useful to help people sleep off the pain.

While analgesics, NSAIDs, and narcotics relieve pain, they don’t address the underlying physiology — primarily the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Two classes of migraine drugs are:

  • ergotamines and
  • triptans.

Ergot alkaloids — such as ergotamine tartrate and dihydroergotamine mesylate — are potent drugs that constrict blood vessels. Because nausea is a possible side effect of these migraine drugs, some people take ergotamines in combination with other drugs to prevent nausea.

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.
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    Treating Migraine Headaches: Some Drugs Should Rarely Be Used

    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.

    They have risks.

    Opioids and butalbital can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly. People who use high doses for a long time may need to be in the hospital in order to stop using them.

    Opioids, even at low doses, can make you feel sleepy or dizzy. Other side effects include constipation and nausea. Using them for a long time can lower your sex drive and cause depression and sleep problems.

    Which drugs are good for migraines?

    Limit the use of all pain medicines.

    Acute Migraine Headache: Treatment Strategies

    How to Deal with Migraine Headaches. On Top10HomeRemedies ...

    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.

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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.

    Vitamin B12 Levels May Be Associated With Migraine Risk

    Evidence links low levels of vitamin B12 with migraine. A study published in October 2019 in the journal Headache compared vitamin B12 levels in 70 people with migraine and 70 healthy people of similar demographics. Investigators found that serum levels of B12 were significantly lower in people with migraine compared with participants without migraine. People with the lowest levels of the vitamin were five times more likely to have migraine than those with the highest levels of B12.

    Researchers have also tested the effects of daily vitamin supplements containing folic acid , vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 on migraine. In a study published in 2016 in the Journal of Headache and Pain, it was found that 1 milligram of folic acid in combination with vitamin B6 and B12 was less effective in reducing symptoms associated with migraine compared with a dose previously tested by the same researchers, namely 2 mg folic acid in combination with 25 mg of vitamin B6 and 400 micrograms of vitamin B12.

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    What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

    There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.

    When Should I Seek Help For My Headaches

    Headache Treatments : How to Stop Migraine Headaches

    Sometimes, headache can signal a more serious problem. You should talk to your doctor about your headaches if:

    • You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
    • Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
    • You have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems
    • You have pain around the eye or ear
    • You have a severe headache with a stiff neck
    • You have a headache with confusion or loss of alertness
    • You have a headache with convulsions
    • You have a headache after a blow to the head
    • You used to be headache-free, but now have headaches a lot

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    Visualise The Pain Away

    Relaxation techniques are very effective for dealing with pain, explains wellness consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams. They can be a good solution if you want to manage pain without popping pills.

    Simply lie still, breathe in and out slowly, and relax various muscle groups, starting from the toes and working all the way up to the head, says Sheridan-Williams. Visualise the pain as a color or number and change the color from dark blacks and greys to bright whites and yellows. Or count down from 10 to one over a few minutes.

    Learning how to breathe better with relaxation breathing exercises and gentle yoga for back pain stretches may also help to release built-up tension.

    Southern Cross Medical Library

    The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

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    What Is Migraine With Aura

    In some cases, people with migraines have specific warning symptoms, or an aura, prior to the onset of their headache. These warning signs can range from flashing lights or a blind spot in one eye to numbness or weakness involving one side of the body. The migraine aura may last for several minutes, and then resolves as the head pain begins or may last until the headache resolves. For patients who have never had an aura, it can be frightening and can mimic the symptoms of a stroke.

    • Eye pain

    What is an episodic migraine?

    The International Headache Society defines episodic migraine as being unilateral , pulsing discomfort of moderate-to-severe intensity, which is aggravated by physical activity and associated with nausea and/or vomiting as well as and/or phonophobia .

    Other migraine headache symptoms and signs of migraines

    What is the difference between a migraine vs. tension headache?

    A tension headache is described as being bilateral and the pain is not pulsating, but feels like pressure or tightness. While severity can be mild-to-moderate, the headache is not disabling and there is no worsening of the pain with routine physical activity additionally, there is no associated nausea, vomiting, photophobia, or phonophobia.

    How long does a migraine last?

    A migraine headache typically lasts for several hours up to several days.

    Works For Frequent Migraines: Migraine

    Try These 9 Simple Headache Hacks for Fast Relief

    If you get two or more migraines per month, you are a candidate for these. Within four weeks of usage, they can cut your migraine-frequency down. Studies show 90 per cent of people who take beta-blockers propranolol and timolol get relief. When beta-blockers dont work, calcium channel-blockers might do the trick.

    This woman suffered from benign headaches for yearsthen a CT scan revealed something deadly.

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    Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like

    A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.

    What Is A Migraine Headache

    Although the term “migraine” is often used to describe any severe headache, a migraine headache is the result of specific physiologic changes that occur within the brain, and lead to the characteristic pain and associated symptoms of a migraine.

    Migraines usually are associated with sensitivity to sound, light, and smells. A migraine attack may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. This type of headache often involves only one side of the head, but in some cases, patients may have pain bilaterally or on both sides. The pain is often described as throbbing or pounding and it may be made worse with physical exertion.

    Not all headaches represent migraines, and migraine is not the only condition that can cause severe and debilitating headaches. For example, cluster headaches are very severe headaches that affect one side of the head in a recurrent manner . The pain is sometimes described as “drilling,” and can be worse than migraine pain in some cases. Cluster headaches are less common than migraine.

    Tension headaches are a more common cause of headache. These occur due to contraction of the muscles of the scalp, face, and neck.

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    Migraine Cures To Stop An Attack And Prevent Future Ones

    Finding migraine cures that work for you is a huge relief. The migraine has plagued sufferers and puzzled doctors for centuries. And its the third most common condition in the world. For one in five womenand one in 15 menthe thundering, one-sided headache intensified by the slightest movement, crippling nausea and sometimes vomiting, the acute sensitivity to light, sound, smells and/or touch, are all too familiar.

    But a migraine is not just a bad headache. Doctors now recognize it as a complex neurological condition with several stages. New research techniques, plus the advent of sensitive MRI scans, are leading to a greater understanding of underlying mechanisms, explains Professor Peter Goadsby, a leading migraine expert.

    And the good news is, there are treatments out there that can help ease your symptoms. It could be as simple as changing up your diet or lacing up your walking shoes more often . Or, for those who suffer from severe migraines, there are now medical treatments that could offer you some relief. Whether youre experiencing attacks just once a year, or much more regularly, heres how to lessen the pain

    Women And Migraine Disease

    Can’t find your Excedrin Migraine pills at the pharmacy? Here’s why

    Female hormone fluctuations, the oral contraceptive, menopause and pregnancy may affect migraine.

    • Migraine attacks often happen around your period or at other regular times of your cycle .
    • Many women find migraine disappears during pregnancy.
    • Oral contraceptives containing oestrogen may change migraine frequency.
    • Some women get migraine during menopause.

    Non-migraine headache is also a common feature of pre-menstrual syndrome.

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    Essential Oils Can Have A Calming Effect

    While no strong evidence suggests that essential oils can reduce the frequency or severity of headaches or migraine attacks, some people find it relaxing to massage lavender oil, diluted peppermint oil, or basil oil on their temples, or to put a few drops in a diffuser to scent the air.

    “Lavender can be calming, and anything that decreases stress is helpful,” says Kriegler.

    While lavender oil can be either inhaled or applied topically, it should not be taken orally because of its potency and the potential for taking in too much, according to Cleveland Clinic.

    As an alternative to peppermint oil, peppermint tea brewed from fresh or dried leaves can also provide a relaxing effect, and contribute to proper hydration.

    “Basil oil has a long history as a home remedy for relaxation and as an analgesic, or painkiller,” says Rothenberg. “The herb works as a muscle relaxant, so it is especially helpful for headaches caused by tension and tight muscles.”

    Before applying any oil to your body, perform a skin test on the inside of your wrist to make sure you aren’t allergic to it.

    Additional reporting by Becky Upham.

    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.

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    Rare Headache Disorders & Facial Pain

    These disorders include trigeminal neuralgia and persistent idiopathic facial pain . Trigeminal neuralgia involves recurrent electric-shock-like pains in one side of the face, and can be triggered by seemingly innocuous stimuli . PIFP causes dull, aching, poorly localised facial pain, which occurs for over two hours per day .

    While they have different symptoms, both of these rare disorders have a huge impact on patients, and can be physically, psychologically and socially debilitating. General painkillers are not effective for these disorders. If you are experiencing these symptoms, ask your GP for a referral to a specialist treatment is complex, and a specialist will be able to screen for possible other causes of the pain.

    Trigeminal neuralgia and PIFP both have preventive medications available. These need to be taken at a low dose to begin with, and gradually increased due to possible side effects. Many people find these preventives helpful, and if the pain stops altogether patients can possibly taper down the dosage and eventually cease medication .

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