When a migraine headache strikes, sometimes lying down in a dark room with a cool cloth across the forehead offers some relief. But usually more help is needed in order to bring migraine headache relief.
Taking Medication to Relieve the Migraine Headache SymptomsFor some migraine sufferers, over-the-counter medications offer relief in fighting the migraine pain. These medications usually contain ingredients like ibuprofen, ASPIRIN®, acetaminophen, naproxen, and caffeine. A migraine sufferer should be careful about using these medications too frequently because overuse can cause rebound headaches or a dependency problem. The Cleveland Clinic website recommends that anyone needing to use over-the-counter pain medicines more than three times a week should see a health care provider to talk about other options for treating the migraine attacks.
Where over-the-counter medications are not sufficient to provide migraine headache relief, there are prescription medicines available. These include:
- triptans such as Axert, Frova, Maxalt, Imitrex, or Zomig. These are the prescription medicines used most frequently for the treatment of migraine headaches.
- ergots such as dihydroergotamine or ergotamine with caffeine (Cafergot).
- isometheptene, known as Midrin.
Some of these medicines work by narrowing the blood vessels, so they should not be taken by someone at risk for heart attacks. It is important to work with a health care provider in using these medicines.
For migraine sufferers who experience nausea during an attack, there is help in the form of nausea medicines such as prochlorperazine. Also, if nausea keeps migraine sufferers from taking other pain medications by mouth, some of the medications are available as a nasal spray, suppository, or injection.
Preventing the Migraine AttacksIf a person’s migraines are frequent and not easily controlled, a health care provider may prescribe medications to reduce the number of migraine attacks. The University of Maryland Medical Center website describes these medications as:
- antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- blood pressure medicines such as beta blockers (like propanolol) or calcium channel blockers (like verapamil)
- seizure medication such as valproic acid, gabepentin, or topiramate
- serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as venlafaxine
- selective norepinephrine uptake inhibitor (SNRIs) such as duloxetine
Using Biofeedback to Control the Causes of MigrainesFor the person seeking help for migraines, biofeedback training is another possible treatment of migraine headaches. The headache sufferer can be trained to be aware of the stressful situations that might possibly cause a migraine. In some situations, they can use biofeedback (controlling heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature, etc.) to prevent the attack before it becomes a major problem.
Working with a health care provider, a migraine sufferer might be able to use one or more of these migraine headache remedies to fight the crippling pain and nausea that often accompanies a migraine attack.