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Migraines Management, treating and preventing Part 2

Previously discussed in Part 1

  • What is a Migraine
  • Symptoms
  • Triggers.
Part 2 will expand and view more of how Migraines are Treated and Possibly prevented in some cases.
If you are one of the unlucky ones that suffer from Migraines, once that migraine starts the first thing you want to know is:

How to Manage the Migraine

Although this process can vary from person to person and depending on the severity of the migraine the following can help to lessen the pain. 
  • a cool cloth on your head
  • turn off all the lights and use only soft natural light to see
  • turn all sounds down to minimal level
  • use your Prescribed medication as directed by the Dr. 
  • Essential oils can help relax and calm the pain. 
  • If nausea is present, eat calming foods. Peppermint is also known to help soothe nausea, or Ginger for Natural remedies. If you have anti nausea medications these would also be appropriate. 
  • Practice Relaxation techniques. Often times when a Migraine starts, it adds stress; which only aggravates and increases the severity of the Migraine. If one can relax it can relieve some of the severe pain and helps to become functional again.
  • Pain Reliever medications are also appropriate; so long as you have permission to use them in addition to your prescription medication from one’s Dr. If there are no Prescribed medications; use the Pain reliever as directed. One of the most often used Pain reliever for Migraines is Excedrin or Generic versions because of it’s unique combination of Acetaminophen, Aspirin and Caffeine which are known to help migraines when used together. 
  • Take a warm bath or shower
  • Take a calming walk
  • Have access to FRESH air
  • take a nap
  • Ask someone to rub your neck, back or feet or treat yourself to a Massage.
  • Apply gentle, steady rotating pressure to the painful area of your head with your index finger and/or thumb. Maintain pressure for seven to 15 seconds, then release. Repeat as needed

Once the Migraine has passed you can then begin focusing on how to get HELP to treating your migraines. If they are severe and frequent; you will want to talk to a Dr about a prescription to help with the pain and also a prescription that can help lessen the frequency of the pain.

Common Medications for Treatment:

there are 2 common ways in which to treat Migraines: abortive and preventive
Abortive Treatments are meant to stop the pain of the Migraine once it begins and include common medications such as:
  • Almotriptan (Axert)
  • Eletriptan (Relpax)
  • Frovatriptari (Frova)
  • Naratriptan (Amerge Naramig)
  • Rizatriptan (Maxalt)
  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex; Treximet)
  • Zolmitriptan (Zomig)
  • Non Prescription Drugs for Pain Relief; as shown in the Chart (source

Preventative Medication  can reduce the frequency, severity and length of migraines and may increase the effectiveness of symptom-relieving medicines used during migraine attacks. Your doctor may recommend that you take preventive medications daily, or only when a predictable trigger, such as menstruation, is approaching. Common Medications of the Preventive nature are:

  • High-blood pressure medications such as Propranolol, Inderal, timolol, calcium channel blockers verapamil [Covera]–these taken in lower doses help the flow of blood through the brain and help prevent anxiety related Migraines
  •  Antidepressants : amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor); as it has been found that some migraines are a result of unmanaged Seratonin levels in the brain.
  • Antiseizure medications: gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), valproic acid (Depakote)
But what about those that want to take a more Natural Approach? Can a Migraine be managed and treated without a lot of medications? In some cases YES! These are called “alternative medicine”.Alternative and Natural Ways to Manage, Treat and Prevent Migraines
Non Traditional Medical treatments would include:
  • Acupuncture. Clinical trials have found that acupuncture may be helpful for headache pain.
  • Biofeedback. This relaxation technique uses special equipment to teach you how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.
  • Manual therapy. Massage and chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines. And it can improve the quality of your sleep, which can, in turn, help prevent migraine attacks.
  • Herbs, vitamins and minerals. some herbs such as feverfew and butterbur may prevent migraines or reduce their severity. A high dose of riboflavin (vitamin B-2) also may prevent migraines by correcting tiny deficiencies in the brain cells. Coenzyme Q10 supplements may decrease the frequency of migraines, but they have little effect on the severity of the headache. Ask your doctor if these treatments are right for you. Don’t use feverfew or butterbur if you’re pregnant.
 Other Natural ways in which you can attempt to Prevent Migraines:
  • Avoid the Triggers: as was mentioned in Part 1 of the Migraine Health and Wellness series; Triggers can often times CAUSE the Migraine. Therefore; reason stands that if you avoid the triggers, then the severity and frequency of the migraines will decrease if not vanish all together.
  • Reduce Sugar intake; sugar is an addicting substance, and with too much sugar in one’s body it is known to increase the chances of Migraines; also if one is to dramatically reduce their sugar intake the body goes into withdrawals which also causes Migraines–but if you break your addiction with sugar the frequency and severity of the Migraines will decrease. This also includes Drinking Soda 
  • Increase Water intake. Keeping one’s body Hydrated is known to help reduce the frequency and severity of Migraines, just as the opposite (being Dehydrated causes migraines)
  • Establish Regular Sleep patterns
  • Avoid Stress; or at least Learn to control stress and learn Relaxation Techniques.
  • Exercise Regularly. Often times if one’s body is not in a healthy state, many other health problems will stem from this; Migraines being one of them. In Addition regular aerobic exercise releases tension which is also a known cause for Migraines
  • Manage or Lose Weight–Dr’s have discovered that Obesity can trigger or cause Migraines; therefore managing your weight at a healthy level will eliminate this cause. Another reason to Exercise Regularly. 
  • Reduce the Effects of estrogen. If you’re a woman who has migraines and estrogen seems to trigger or make your headaches worse, you will want to avoid or reduce the medications you take that contain estrogen. These medications include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. An alternative to high hormonal Birth Control is the IUD Mirena. Talk with your doctor about the best alternatives or dosages for you.

 Living with Migraines can be debilitating, prevent you from living your life, and sharing moments with your children. But it does NOT have to be this way! There IS hope and there IS help! Keep track of your migraines in your Migraine Diary, learn what your triggers are and try to avoid them. Seek help from your Dr. Discuss with him/her what you discovered from your Migraine diary and discuss which medication options could be beneficial to you.

You no longer have to suffer; and most importantly, do NOT give up. Migraines have such a wide variety of causes that what works for one person will not work for the next. It will be a process to discovering what will work for you. If the Prescription medications don’t work, try the Alternative medications. If one Chiropractor doesn’t work, look to a different one. Change Dr’s if you have to. If one Dr isn’t getting results. it’s not that he’s a bad Dr, just not the one meant to help you manage your migraines. But DO NOT Give up!
These methods may not bring a “CURE” but you CAN find relief; of having Less frequent and less severe migraines so that you can get back to what you enjoy, get back to your family, and get back to your life!

What have you found that helps YOUR migraines?

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