How to treat a migraine

How to treat a migraine


Have you walked into a doctor's office, trying to figure out how to treat a migraine? But you feel more confused than when you came in? Maybe you've been given great advice that hasn't worked for you. It's time to take a good look at the information that's out there and find some real answers.

Step 1 - first things first

First things first, and this really is important. If you have a new headache, or a change in your headaches, or if your headaches or other symptoms are getting worse, see a doctor right away. Some headaches really are serious. Let your doctor rule out some of the more serious problems.

Step 2 - educate yourself

Now that you've seen your doctor, make sure that you're happy with what your doctor had to say. Did she listen to you? Did she explain her diagnosis? Did she give you specific ideas about how to treat a migraine, or were her suggestions vague? If you're not comfortable, there are two things you can do. First, you can get a second opinion. Check here for a doctor in your area that may specialize in migraine treatment.

Second, learn all you can about headache types yourself. Are you sure it's migraine? Migraine doesn't always include headache, although it usually does. ID Migraine is one way to tell if you have migraine. Ask yourself: Have migraine symptoms limited my activities one or more days in the last 3 months? Do I get sick to my stomach? Does light bother me? If you said yes to at least two of these questions, there's a good chance you have migraine. Read this article for more ideas on identifying migraine.

You also need to educate yourself about the various treatments that are available to you.

How to treat a migraine - key ways:

How to treat a migraine?  The answer goes far beyond taking an aspirin.  In fact, sometimes just using over the counter pain relievers can make matters worse.  Lora McGuire, RN, MS is a professor of nursing at Joliet Junior College in IL USA.  She writes in her article How to treat a migraine:

What most patients don't know is this: OTC medications may actually worsen migraine pain by causing a rebound headache. By teaching your patient to recognize early symptoms of a migraine and treat it appropriately, you can help her avoid another visit to the ED.

Recent studies have demonstrated that most migraine patients are not using the medications that are specifically designed for migraine.  That means they might be putting up with a lot that they don't need to.

a. Non-drug options

There are some very good home remedies and non-drug treatments that you can try. This includes things like aromatherapy, lifestyle changes, biofeedback, chiropractic, and hot or cold packs. You can improve your eating habits. Understanding what triggers your migraine symptoms is a big step on the way to knowing how to treat a migraine. Many doctors will start with the drugs, but if you educate yourself you can find better solutions that your doctor will approve of. Learn how to treat a migraine the way that will work for you.

b. Herbs and supplements

There are also herbs and supplements that are excellent for migraine.  Be aware that these are not necessarily safer than drug options.  You should still discuss them with your doctor to make sure they are right for you, and to make sure that they won't react with other drugs or conditions that you have.  Read this article for a quick primer on herbs for headache.

c. Drugs for migraine

You need to know the facts and the dangers of the drugs that are available. This is key to knowing how to treat a migraine. As mentioned above, there are drugs that are custom-made for migraine. These may be far better for you than the over the counter drugs you may have tried, which can make matters worse, causing rebound headache for example, or causing side effects due to frequent use.

One of the most popular solutions to migraine is the triptan class of drugs. Read more about triptans and other abortive medications here. If your migraine attacks are more frequent, you may want to try a preventative solution. This may include things like beta-blockers or anticonvulsants. Read more about preventative drugs here.

d. Other options

Depending on the severity of your condition, there are other options that are becoming available.  Recently, many migraineurs have found help using Botox and surgery.  The Botox is used to find what muscles may be triggering migraine symptoms, then surgery deals with those muscles.  Keep up to date by checking out the Migraine and Headache News page, or by subscribing to the free ezine, HeadWay.

Step 3 - Start a migraine diary

If you want to know how to treat a migraine, it's important to know what's setting off the chain reaction, and what treatment is helping. Start keeping a migraine diary - write down when your attacks occur, what the symptoms are, how long they lasted. Also, keep track of what you eat, what you drink, what's going on in your life, what changes are happening. Then when a migraine hits, you may be able to figure out what it was that started it. Something you ate? Perfume you were wearing? Changes in your body?

A migraine diary will allow you to see if any given treatment is working. Have you had fewer attacks? Or the same number, but not as severe? It's hard to remember exactly what each migraine attack it like if you don't write it down.

Click here for our exclusive migraine diary.

Step 4 - One treatment at a time

Freedom from migraine

Start trying some of the solutions that you and your doctor have discussed. Remember, there is no single best way to treat migraine. It's different with everyone. And, remember that it may take some time. Some preventative measures may take a few months to try. Other treatments may be quicker. Keep trying until you find something that works for you.

It's also important to remember that more than one thing may trigger migraine. You may find that cutting wine out of your diet cuts down on your attacks, but you still get some. Why? Maybe you also have problems with your posture. Maybe it was a temporary thing, like the new paint in your office. Don't get discouraged, keep looking for answers.

How to treat a migraine? Understand it, get help, and be determined. Don't let it beat you. More and more people are finding freedom from migraine. It's time to fight back.

If you've found this article on how to treat a migraine helpful, be sure to check out our free ezine HeadWay for more tips and current migraine news.