How to Handle Your Migraine Attacks


Best Medications to Handle Migraine

Migraine attacks can be the worst. From throbbing headaches, vomiting and many other symptoms, this condition can indeed be debilitating especially for those who’d always like to be on-the- go. Still, it’s great how different kinds of help and treatment are out there, for patients to ease the pain they’re going through.

downloadIt’s also mostly helpful if patients have specialists whom they can easily reach whenever migraine attacks happen. This is on top of their constant efforts to improve their condition day by day, even when the migraines are not as apparent. If you’re a person who goes through the pains which migraines bring, it is equally important for you to figure out the type of support you’d prefer in case of an attack. It’s also helpful to read through the digitally shared thoughts of patients who similarly go through the same situation.

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The three main categories of migraine treatments you can administer yourself:

1 – Over the Counter – Milder migraines can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen or naproxen. Aspirin is a popular over-the-counter choice, either alone or with caffeine and acetaminophen in the form of Excedrin Migraine.

2 – Prescription Meds – One class of prescription drugs, called triptans, are formulated to specifically abort a migraine attack. There are several different kinds of triptans, as well as different delivery methods for the drug, so you have many options of relief no matter the situation. (Watch for another report on triptans coming soon). A few other types of medications, such as ergotamines, can be self-administered as rescue medications if you have heart problems or don’t respond to triptans. Some people get acute relief from opioids like Vicodin or Percocet or from barbiturates like Fiorcet and Fiorinal. Because of side effects and the risk of dependency, narcotic pain relievers are usually not the first line of treatment for migraines.

3 – Natural or Non-Drug – Natural treatment options – like acupuncture, ice packs, menthol  and sleep — can be effective for many people. New neuromodulation devices are another promising option.

Healthy habits like exercise, avoiding migraine triggers and getting enough sleep are important to ensure you don’t need to frequently rely on migraine medication.  Keeping the best migraine medication for every situation on hand will ease some of the stress that comes with unpredictable attacks.

Choosing the Best Migraine Medication for Every Kind of Attack


The Mild Evening Migraine

Most people who get migraines prefer their acute migraine medication in pill form. Depending on the intensity of your attack, any medication plus sleep and a wearable ice packis a good option at night. Taking either an NSAID, aspirin, Excedrin migraine, or a prescription triptan pill is the simplest, and often cheapest, way to abort a migraine attack. Triptans are effective for over half the population, and many are now available in generic form.

It can take a while for the medicine to get in your bloodstream, though, since the pill must pass through your digestive system. It can take even longer during a migraine attack, because the digestive system slows down. An ice pack, a bath or shower, or even some good distraction can provide relief while waiting for medication to kick in.

If you tried a triptan and did not get the results you wanted, ask your doctor if you can try another one. There are a total of 10 different pill and tablet options, and one of them may be the missing tool in your migraine arsenal.  Axert, Relpax, Imitrex, Zomig, Frova, Amerge, Maxalt, and Treximet are all different triptan pills that are worth trying. Zomig and Maxalt are also available as a dissolvable tablet for quicker relief.

The Menacing Migraine at Work

best migraine medication for work migraines

Sometimes a nap is unavoidable when a migraine strikes, even at work. Image: Bark

When a migraine hits at work you want relief as quickly as possible, so you can continue your day. Injectable triptans  start working very quickly and are a natural choice to treat that migraine that threatens your work day.

Triptan nasal sprays are another fast delivery method – and one that does not involve needles. Sumatriptan, the most common triptan, is available as Imitrex Nasal Spray and in a brand new form of nasal powder called Onzetra. Zolmitriptan is also available as Zomig Nasal Spray.

The Severe Morning Migraine

Disruptions in sleep, like insomnia, over-sleeping, or not enough sleep, are some of the most common migraine triggers. One of the largest clinical studies on sleep and headaches found that 71% of people who get migraines have started their day with a morning migraine. Morning migraines are tough, because migraines are the easiest to treat when you take migraine medication as soon as you feel one coming on. Delaying treatment could delay relief, or even prevent relief in some cases.

Waking up with a migraine usually means the perfect window of opportunity for treatment has passed. The best way to treat a morning migraine is with a form of triptan that enters the bloodstream quickly, like an injectable. Sumatriptan is available in three different injectable forms: Alsuma, Imitrex Statdose, Zembrace Symtouch. There is also a form of needless injection available called Sumavel Dosepro.

The Sickening Migraine 

An upset stomach is one of the most common symptoms of a migraine attack, and it can prevent or delay relief. Taking pills is difficult for those who experience a lot of migraine nausea. The best migraine medication for migraines with a lot of nausea comes in forms that bypass the stomach entirely.

Injectable and nasal forms of triptans offer medicine that enters the body that way, completely bypassing the digestive system. Neuromodulation devices and natural options, like menthol and magnesium, can also ease symptoms. Ginger has the added benefit of reducing nausea, if you can keep it down.

The Hormonal Migraine

The changing hormone levels in a woman’s body before her monthly period trigger a migraine in a lot of women. Unfortunately, hormonal migraines can often be more severe and harder to get rid of than other migraine types. All of the triptan options are good candidates for acute relief from hormonal migraines, but sometimes they are not enough.

Mix Up Treatments for Best Results

Varying treatments from migraine to migraine will keep your body from getting too used to one med. Those of us with migraines are susceptible to medication overuse headaches. Medication overuse happens when we treat frequent headaches or migraines with the same drug. In this rebound cycle, our bodies get used to a specific treatment, like an NSAID, triptan, or opioid. Any time the medication wears off, the migraine and pain are there.

Each person with migraines should have an arsenal of tools to battle a migraine and all of its symptoms: a migraine relief toolbox you keep with you at all times. Choosing the best plan of attack for each migraine occasion and level of intensity lessens the control migraines have over your days. There is simply no comparison to the joy felt when a migraine finally eases its grip.

Aside from knowing your preferences in times of migraine attacks, it would also be necessary for you to consider alternative means of managing your migraine attacks.

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Many of us are at least passingly familiar with the most popular methods of stress reduction: yoga, regular exercise, mindful meditation, a hot bath, a cup of hot tea, a long chat with a friend. If those methods have not worked for you, however, or you simply don’t like some of those things, you’re in luck. There are nearly as many ways to reduce and manage stress as there are stress triggers. The trick, as always with matters of health, is finding what works for you.

With that in mind, here are a few uncommon, but scientifically valid, methods for reducing stress that you may not have tried:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy
  2. Belly breathing and breath control
  3. A mini palm massage (simply use the opposite thumb to massage the palm in a circular pattern)
  4. Accupressure
  5. Forced smiling
  6. Mantras and Affirmations (Example: I can handle this)
  7. Sexual intimacy
  8. Cuddling with an animal
  9. Chewing gum (Just make sure the muscle movements and jaw strain aren’t a migraine trigger!)
  10. Watching a funny video online or looking up a fractal pattern

Some of the above methods may sound strange, but researchers have found that each one reduces stress hormone levels and increases feelings of calm and/or happiness almost immediately.

Eliminating stress altogether isn’t possible, nor would we want it to be. (Certain types of stress are healthy and beneficial, as are the life events that accompany them.) Reducing chronic stress, however, is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle, and doing so will dramatically improve quality of life for those of us with migraine – whether the stress itself is a trigger or not.

These are just few of the many ways which one can handle a migraine attack. Consider which ones of these can work well for you, and be sure take the advice of your physician whenever possible. It’s worthwhile to research more about the alleviating techniques of your condition, towards eventual overall health.

To know more about effective migraine treatments, click here. Take on a customized and personalized approach towards treating your migraine.