Migraine Headache Symptoms, Causes, Medicine, Treatment, and Relief
What natural home remedies and and lifestyle changes relieve migraines?
Migraine patients can play a significant role in managing their headache frequency and severity.
Keep track of when migraines occur by using a headache diary or log to track pain levels, triggers, and symptoms. This can help identify patterns that precede a migraine, as well as help identify factors that contribute to the development of the headache. Once these contributing factors are known, lifestyle modifications can lessen their impact. These modifications may include:
• Maintain a regular schedule for eating and sleeping
o Avoid certain foods that might cause a migraine
o Keep well hydrated since dehydration has been identified as a migraine trigger for some people
o Exercise regularly
• Relaxation strategies and meditation also have been recognized as effective strategies to prevent migraines and decrease their severity.
Exercise and migraine
• Some people find that exercises that promote muscle relaxation can help manage the pain of migraines. Examples of types of mind-body exercises that can help encourage relaxation are:
• Progressive muscle relaxation
• Guided imagery
Diet and Migraine
There is no specific diet for people with migraines that will help relieve symptoms. However, certain foods can be triggers for migraines in susceptible people. These foods include:
• Red wines
• Aged cheeses
• Preservatives used in smoked meats (nitrates)
• Monosodium glutamate
• Artificial sweeteners
• Alcoholic beverages
• Dairy products
Understanding the particular triggers of your migraines and avoiding them may help some sufferers decrease the frequency of attacks.
What is the treatment for migraines during pregnancy? Can you take medication?
Many women find their headaches stabilize or even resolve during pregnancy. This may be related to more consistent hormone levels that occur during pregnancy. To decrease the risk of birth defects, certain medications used to prevent migraines may need to be discontinued prior to a pregnancy.
There are limited studies of drugs used to treat migraines during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is relatively safe when used in recommended doses. If a you are pregnant and are experiencing frequent headaches, there are some treatment alternatives that may be provided by your doctor or other health care professional. Many migraine medicines, including the triptans, are not well studied in pregnancy so the potential benefits to the patient need to be weighed against the risks to the fetus before they are prescribed.
What is the treatment for migraines in children?
Migraines may occur in children. Treatment is similar to the treatment of migraines in adults, but drug dosages may need to be adjusted because of the smaller size of the patients.
• Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often quite effect in controlling acute headaches.
• For more severe or refractory headaches, some of the triptans have been identified as being beneficial.
• If headaches occur frequently, daily medication may be needed for prevention.
• Diet, regular sleep patterns, routine exercise, and biofeedback, are all potentially beneficial in decreasing the frequency and severity of migraines in children.
• Identification and avoidance of triggers through the use of a headache diary is a helpful tool.
What is the prognosis for a person with migraines? Is there a cure?
Most people who have migraines find that their headaches may be controlled with the preventive medications and lifestyle changes. Those with a diagnosis of migraine need to be aware of how their lifestyle may directly affect the frequency and severity of their headache. Controlling triggers may provide substantial benefit. It has been identified that as patients get older, there may be a decrease in the frequency of this type of headache and they may disappear after a number of years.
Can the frequency of migraines be prevented?
If you are susceptible to migraines you will always have some component of risk, but daily use of medications and avoiding triggers often are effective in preventing them.
What is the difference between migraines and tension headaches?
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 can you tell if it is a migraine or a different type of headache?
No specific physical findings are found when patients are experiencing a routine migraine headache. If an abnormality is identified on physical examination, there should be suspicion of other possible causes for the headache.
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders 3 (ICHD) criteria for migraine without aura, a patient must have had at least five headache attacks fulfilling the following criteria:
• Headache attacks lasting 4 to 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated)
• The headache has at least two of the following characteristics:
o Unilateral location
o Pulsating quality
o Moderate or severe pain intensity
o Aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity (for example, walking or climbing stairs)
• During the headache, at least one of the following characteristics:
o Nausea and/or vomiting
o Photophobia and/or phonophobia
• The headache cannot be attributed to another disorder
Imaging the brain with an MRI and CT scans or performing a brain wave test (electroencephalogram [EEG]) is not necessary if the patient’s physical examination is normal.