Sometimes you can cut down the number of migraine headaches you have by avoiding potential triggers. Identifying migraine triggers isn't easy. Many doctors recommend keeping a headache diary. By recording the circumstances (e.g., emotions, foods eaten) surrounding your migraines, you may eventually figure out what situations to stay clear of to reduce your risk of migraines.
There are some measures you can take to help reduce the number of migraine headaches: avoid sleep deprivation and undue stress and maintain a regular exercise program and good nutrition. Other techniques such as yoga, meditation, and biofeedback techniques may also be helpful. When these measures do not solve the problem, medication may be required. Document the techniques you've tried and how well they worked in your headache diary, too.
There are two basic types of migraine medication: abortive medications are used to control the symptoms of an existing migraine headache, and prophylactic medications are taken to prevent migraine headaches. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of migraine, other medical problems, and on how often migraines occur.
Abortive medications include:
- pain medications that contain ASA, acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen, or naproxen for mild to moderate migraine headaches
- ergot preparations such as ergotamine or dihydroergotamine (DHE) that constrict dilated blood vessels
- triptans (e.g., sumatriptan, naratriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, frovatriptan, eletriptan) that mimic the chemical messenger serotonin, constricting blood vessels to relieve pain
- metoclopromide, chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, and dimenhydrinate may also be used
Prophylactic medications include:
- antiseizure medications such as valproic acid, divalproex sodium, gabapentin, and topiramate – these may stabilize nerve cells and prevent the brain hypersensitivity that triggers the migraine
- blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol or metoprolol), candesartan, lisinopril, and calcium channel blockers (e.g., flunarizine and verapamil) – these can prevent headaches by stabilizing blood vessels
- riboflavin (vitamin B2), coenzyme Q10, or magnesium supplements – these may be used for people who are concerned about medication side effects
- serotonin blockers such as pizotifen may also be effective
- tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline – these work like pain medications at lower doses and increase the levels of certain brain chemicals
A headache specialist might recommend other therapies:
- There are herbal products like butterbur that might help prevent migraines.
- Relaxation therapy and biofeedback aim to teach people to control body functions such as temperature and pulse.
- Behavioural therapy involves learning how to avoid headache triggers by changing behaviour.
There is some evidence that suggests chiropractic care, such as spinal manipulation, can help alleviate pain associated with migraine that originates from the neck.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Migraine