Migraines are extenuative, severe headaches where you usually feel a throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of your head. They’re generally accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to sound, light, and smell. These headaches can be excruciating and disrupt your everyday life. The pain caused by migraine attacks can last for hours to days and can be so severe that it may render you incapable to carry out your daily routine. That’s where migraine medication can help you out.
Also, you may experience some warning symptoms like blind spots, a tingling sensation on one side of the body, or flashes of light. These symptoms are known as aura.
Although the causes behind a migraine aren’t entirely known, environmental and genetic factors are considered to play an essential role.
Primary reasons that can answer what causes migraines are:
There are numerous migraine triggers such as:
People with family history of migraines are likely to suffer from this ailment. They usually start during adolescence, peak during the 30’s, becoming less severe and frequent as you grow older. The tendency to have migraines is three times more in women than in men as women are more prone to experiencing attacks before or during their periods, pregnancy, and menopause.
Electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback training can help you recognize tension as it starts to build up in your muscles and teaches you to relax those which can lead to migraine pain. These muscles include those in your head, neck, face, back, and shoulders. Relaxation techniques like guided imagery, different types of meditation, and progressive relaxation can also help you manage the stress that can lead to such attacks.
Supplements and herbs to treat migraines
A deficiency of magnesium in the body can lead to migraine attacks. Taking a supplement to overcome this deficiency can help prevent migraine attacks. For decades people have taken feverfew, a flower that belongs to the daisy family, to ease migraine symptoms but its effectiveness is not proven scientifically. But it shouldn’t be taken by women who are pregnant as it thins the blood. It can also have some serious side effects which include anxiety, mouth ulcers, allergic reactions, and upset stomach. It can also cause headaches.
At present, the treatment of migraines is aimed to prevent a full-blown attack and to alleviate the symptoms. Small changes in lifestyle such as reducing stress, avoiding certain foods, getting enough sleep, doing regular physical exercise, drinking plenty of water, or trying a gluten-free diet can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. If these changes don’t relieve the frequency or symptoms of migraines, then further treatment becomes necessary. Migraine treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, avoiding triggers, and taking medication.
There are two types of migraine medication available to treat migraines. Medicine for acute treatment helps to relieve pain and other symptoms during a migraine while medicine for preventive treatment reduces the severity and frequency of migraine headaches.
Medicine for acute treatment>
These drugs are used at the start of a migraine attack to decrease its severity or to relieve a headache. But taking these drugs frequently can lead to a rebound headache. If you need to take acute migraine medicine more than 9 times a month, then you should consult your doctor for preventive migraine medication.
Painkillers are the most common medicine to treat migraines. Many of these over-the-counter painkillers are available only in prescription strength and only reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
These drugs are specifically used for migraines. They help relieve a migraine within minutes by causing the blood vessels in the brain to contract. But this drug can have serious side effects such as heart problems and congenital disabilities. It can prove toxic if taken in high doses.
This newer class of drug relieves the symptoms of migraines by constricting blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
These drugs reduce vomiting and nausea that is caused by severe migraines. Side effects may include drowsiness and dizziness.
Opioids are powerful painkillers that can help relieve pain caused by migraines.
Medicines for preventative treatment
These drugs are used to reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. They are usually taken daily but can take months to become effective.
These drugs help to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks by reducing the effects of stress hormones on your blood and heart vessels.
Calcium channel blockers
These blood pressure drugs moderate the dilation and constriction of blood vessels thus reducing migraine pain.
These drugs help alleviate migraines by raising the levels of various brain chemicals such as serotonin. This increase can constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
Following are some of the best medicines for migraines available today:
This drug, Amerge is a cerebral vasoconstrictor which helps to relieve migraine headaches as they occur. It doesn’t reduce or prevent the number migraine attacks you experience. Vision changes, tiredness or weakness, tingling sensation, dizziness, cold or warm temperature sensations, and upset stomach are the side effects that may be felt by a person taking this medicine.
Axert is a triptan drug that is very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. This Canadian medicine is available in two doses and can help relieve migraine pain within two hours. Side effects may include upset stomach, dry mouth, headache, and drowsiness.
Imitrex Nasal Spray (Sumatriptan)
This cerebral vasoconstrictor is a great migraine reliever. However, Imitrex Nasal Spray does have dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, muscle aches as some of its side effects.
Other ideal medications for migraines include:
As mentioned above, while science is still figure out what causes migraines, you can still do ahead and use the best migraine medication (after consulting your doctor) to relieve the symptoms or keep it at bay.