It is helpful to consider acute medication for headaches in several categories. They can be those that address pain or those medicines, which address nausea and vomiting. Moreover, these medications can also be the ones that address both. Some drugs may also reduce sensitivity to headache pain and interrupt the dilation process of blood vessels in the head. However, the best migraine treatment for mild headaches is likely acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol. More severe headaches need stronger medications, divided into subtypes based on their mechanisms of action.
What are the effective medications?
These drugs are serotonin receptor agonists. Triptans work by vasoconstriction and vasodilatation in some brain parts to help cure headaches.
Medications, such as Imitrex (Sumatriptan) and Maxalt (Rizatriptan), do not cause addiction. Therefore, you can use them for longer periods.
- Ergots and caffeine combinations
These types of migraine treatment address pain and nausea in most cases. Moreover, they also reduce sensitivity to headache pain or interrupt the dilation process of blood vessels.
Ergots and caffeine combinations can lead to addiction if used over a long period. Therefore, doctors do not prescribe them for more than 10 days.
- Nausea medications
Medications that treat nausea include Phenergan (promethazine), Marinol (dronabinol), and Compazine. Moreover, Reglan (metoclopramide) is another drug that eases nausea. Reglan works very well for some headache patients. Nevertheless, it does not benefit some people.
The medication is a great drug for nausea in general and should be used regularly if all other drugs fail to help with nausea.
The best way of thinking about headaches is that there are subtypes based on their mechanisms of action, each needing migraine treatment separately using accurate medications. Once we understand this, you can address your condition very effectively with simple measures. They may include lifestyle changes and proper medication.
What are medications for migraine other than acute treatments?
The main goal of acute treatments is to stop a headache before it starts. However, some medications can work to prevent migraines. These are called prophylactic or preventive medications. In some cases, these preventives can help reduce the number of headaches by 50% or more. They do this by blocking headache triggers before they happen. There are different types of preventives. Moreover, they work in different ways.
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, help prevent throbbing headaches by blocking pain messages from the nerves to the brain. Moreover, doctors prescribe using them every day, even when you don’t have a headache. It is vital to work with your doctor on the proper dose for you.
- Anti-seizure medications, such as Depakote or Topamax, help prevent headaches by lowering levels of substances in the brain that can trigger attacks. Moreover, doctors prescribe using this migraine treatment every day, even when you don’t have a headache.
- Botox is FDA-approved for preventing headaches (migraines on 15 or more days per month over at least three months). By blocking some nerves, Botox can stop headaches before they happen. However, you may need to have a series of injections every 12 weeks since the treatment only lasts about three months.
What is a migraine?
It is a neurologic disorder, which is very common. Migraine shows recurrent attacks of headache and other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Patients usually have associated symptoms during these attacks. The headache occurs on one side of the head and has a throbbing quality. Moreover, the pain can be moderate or severe. Attacks last several hours up to a few days, and the headache may recur in some individuals over years. Nevertheless, you can relieve them with effective migraine treatment.
What are the symptoms of such headaches?
Typically, the pain of a migraine headache is throbbing in nature and can be unilateral, bilateral, or even pulsatile. The pain can radiate to areas such as the neck, back, and abdomen. Other symptoms that often accompany headaches include extreme sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue.
Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person. However, most sufferers experience a combination of neurological symptoms with head pain. These may include-
- Discomfort in the jaw and neck muscles
- Swollen areas around the eyes
- Sensitivity to light, sound, touches, and smell that may trigger a migraine attack
- Dysphasic speech disturbances during an attack
- Numbness or weakness of the limbs on one side of your body (hemiplegia) during an attack
It often comes with a partial loss of vision in one eye, called hemianopia. Take your migraine treatment if you notice these symptoms.
Migraine sufferers report that the pain often comes with strange visual and auditory auras, such as flickering lights, blind spots, zigzag patterns across their field of vision, and strange sounds, such as buzz and hissing. Moreover, some sufferers also report a pins and needles sensation in their limbs.
What causes migraines?
These pulsating headaches often come with a prodrome or early warning. The prodrome may occur hours or even days before the migraine attack. Moreover, they can include mood changes, increased urination, fatigue, food cravings, neck stiffness, and other pre-headache symptoms. Migraines are not well understood. Nevertheless, the following are some possible causes-
- Inherited genes may cause changes in how your brain functions and how it processes and responds to pain.
- Abnormalities in serotonin regulation and blood vessel function can lead to such a condition. Serotonin and blood vessels regulate pain and the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in your brain.
- Abnormalities in nerve function, including the transmission of pain signals between your brain and other parts of your body, can also be the culprit.
After ruling out the cause, your doctor may begin your migraine treatment.
- Changes in brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters are also thought to be responsible for pulsating head pains. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow communication among neurons, or nerve cells, in your brain, spinal cord, and throughout your body.
- Stress, either emotional or physical, may aggravate migraines in some people.
What are the warning symptoms?
Most migraine sufferers know the warning signs of an attack. Here are five things-
An aura is a visual disturbance, which occurs in as many as one-third of migraine sufferers before their headache begins. It typically takes the form of zigzag lights or flashing stars, dark spots, a loss of peripheral vision, or a visual disturbance. Therefore, if you have warning signs, make sure to note what they are.
- Visionary problems
Double vision may occur in about 5% of migraine sufferers. It causes seeing two images when only one picture should be present.
- Nausea and vomiting
It occurs in about 10% of migraine sufferers. This symptom is very common. Therefore, if you notice nausea, use your migraine treatment immediately.
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Most people know that the pain of a migraine is usually throbbing and moderate to severe. However, not everyone knows it can also accompany nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
- Aching in the limbs
Pain in the hands and legs occurs in about 25% of migraine sufferers. Moreover, it usually involves aching or throbbing in the head, neck, arms, legs, or other parts of your body.
What can trigger migraine headaches?
Some possible triggers are-
- Inadequate sleep or too much sleep
- Skipped meals
- Weather changes
- Menstruation in women
Moreover, other factors can trigger episodes in people who have an aura. These include exposure to light (too much or too little), including the following-
- Computer screens
- Fluorescent lighting
- Sunlight behind the clouds
- Flickering lights
What is the best at-home migraine treatment?
Migraines affect around 12 percent of the adult population in the UK and US alone, making them one of the most common causes of long-term pain and discomfort in developed countries. Since they are so common, you must understand your migraines to reduce their impact on your day-to-day life. You can take several steps to treat them at home. Nevertheless, some are-
- Keeping a migraine diary
- Reducing your caffeine intake
- Eating regularly
- Avoiding some triggers, such as fluorescent light, strong smells, or sudden temperature changes
In addition, you should also be aware of several self-help remedies, which can help alleviate your symptoms. These include-
- Applying ice or cold packs to the area around your eyes
- Lying down in a dimly lit room with a damp cloth on your forehead
- Using OTC pills such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
Finally, it is also crucial to be acquainted with the symptoms of a migraine attack to get accurate migraine treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. Nevertheless, the frequent symptoms are-
- Throbbing head pain
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Blurred vision
If you are familiar with these symptoms, you should be able to get the treatment you need much more quickly. Moreover, there are many other ways of treating a headache at home. By experimenting with different options, you can find something that works for you. Nevertheless, the most vital thing is to make sure that your treatment has the maximum effect on the root cause of your condition. It may help to prevent irritating symptoms.
What can you do to prevent migraines?
If you identify one or several potential trigger factors for your migraines, it is time to find ways to tackle them. However, here are some suggestions-
- TIP 1: Try using stress management techniques.
Avoid stress, as it is a major inducer of throbbing headaches. Stress management techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, can help.
- TIP 2: Get enough sleep.
If you get fewer than 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, your migraines may be triggered or become worse by lack of sleep. Therefore, take adequate sleep to support your migraine treatment.
- TIP 3: Consider how much caffeine you drink and how much to avoid.
Consuming 200mg or more caffeine per day can trigger migraines in some people. Therefore, keep a log of how much caffeine you have each day and cut back the amount that is harmful to you.
- TIP 4: Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake until your condition improves.
In the short term, alcohol affects the processing of pain in the brain. It means that a drink or two may help you forget about your headache. However, it is not helping your body to recover from the attack. It is prolonging the length of time migraines last.
- TIP 5: Track your food intake.
Keep a check on your diet and make an elimination diet plan if you think certain foods trigger your migraines. It is well known that some foods can trigger pulsating headaches in some people. Therefore, it may be worth keeping a food diary to see which foods provoke the problems. Doing so can also help with your migraine treatment.
- TIP 6: Examine how much exercise you get each week.
Migraines can take place in low levels of oxygen in the blood. Too little exercise, not breathing properly, or both can sometimes be the reasons behind headaches in some people.
- TIP 7: Investigate dietary supplements that may help reduce or prevent your migraines.
Some people have found that taking magnesium supplements has helped reduce their frequency and severity of attacks. Therefore, consult your doctor for effective supplements, which lend you a hand to manage your condition.
- TIP 8: Try a natural anti-inflammatory diet to prevent migraines.
Many people find that changing their diet can reduce the frequency, severity, and length of time that migraines last. Therefore, talk with your doctor about helpful foods and drinks.
- TIP 9: Reduce or eliminate caffeine in all its forms from your diet.
Some people find that cutting back on the amount of caffeine they consume can help. For that reason, if you are a migraine sufferer, you should know the amount of caffeine that benefits and harms your health.
- TIP 10: Identify your migraine triggers as accurately as possible.
Many different things can trigger migraines. If you are not sure, taking the time to make an accurate list may help. Consult your doctor to know the possible triggers. Nevertheless, don’t forget to use your migraine treatment on time.