Triggers and treatment for migraine headaches

CWGFP4 Portrait of stressed woman having head pain

Migraine attacks can be an extremely debilitating. The condition of recurring headaches may run in the family, may be related to stress or triggered by certain foods. Irregular eating, sleeping patterns, allergic reactions and weather are other migraine triggers.

There are three different levels of migraine treatment – preventative treatment, acute treatment and rescue treatment.


Medications used for treatment of migraines headache can be classified into two broad categories:

Pain-relieving medications (that is acute or abortive treatment) – These drugs are given to stop the symptoms that have already begun and can be taken anytime taken during migraine attacks. These are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Triptans, Ergot, Anti-nausea medications, Butalbital combinations and Opiates.

These medications are most effective when taken as soon as you experience signs or symptoms of a migraine. Rest and sleep after taking the medication can increase the efficacy of the medicine.

Preventive medications – These medications are taken regularly (if needed daily) to control migraines (i.e. reduce the severity or frequency of symptoms). These include cardiovascular drugs such as beta blockers (such as propranolol), calcium channel blockers (verapamil), antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, cyproheptadine and botulinum toxin type A (Botox).

Preventive medications however, are not effective in completely eliminating headaches. They can cause some serious side effects. If the preventative medicines are effective and you have been migraine-free for six months to a year, your doctor may advise you to lower the dose to see if you remain migraine free or the migraine headache returns without it. For migraine treatments to be effective, take the prescribed medications as your doctor recommends.

The medications are prescribed by the doctor based on the frequency and severity of your headaches, the degree of disability it causes, pregnancy (if applicable) and your overall health. Certain medications are not recommended in pregnant women, breast-feeding women and children. Women with migraine report that their menstrual cycle directly affects this. Menstrual migraine treatment depends on the regularity of your menstrual cycle, whether there are painful or heavy periods and menopausal symptoms.
The throbbing headache and nausea can be helped at home. Prescription drugs don’t work well for many migraine sufferers, and there might be unwanted side-effects. This is why home remedies for migraine headache pain relief may be their best option. Fish oil, Peppermint oil, ginger are some of the proven natural migraine treatments.

Whether you are on medications or trying at-home remedies, it is advised to keep a headache diary to monitor what works and what doesn’t. One should know what migraine triggers are and the best migraine treatment. This will help you manage migraine better.

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