Migraine is a complex and an unbearable disorder. There are different types of migraine which have several treatment options. Migraine treatment approaches can be classified as acute treatments, which aim to reverse or stop the migraine symptoms and preventive treatments, which aim to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. There are many people with migraine who need both types of treatment. Migraine headache is a result of specific changes within the brain. It causes severe headache that is often caused by sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.
Common symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Eye pain
- Severe pain, usually on one side of the head that some individuals refer to as pounding
Different types of migraines include:
- Common migraine (or absence migraine) has no “aura.” About 80%of migraines are common.
- Classic migraines (migraine with aura) present with an aura before the headache and are more severe than common migraines.
- A hemiplegic migraine can have symptoms that are similar to stroke, such as weakness on one side of the body, loss of sensation, etc.
- A retinal migraine causes temporary vision loss in one eye, which can last from minutes to months, but it is usually reversible. This is often a sign of a more serious medical problem, and patients should seek medical care if they face this.
- A chronic migraine is a migraine headache treatment that lasts for more than 15 days per month.
- Status migrainosus is a constant migraine attack that lasts more than 72 hours.
Migraines can be triggered by many factors, for example:
- Hormonal changes
- Strong stimuli like loud noises
- Certain foods
Types of Migraine Treatments
Migraine treatment can be of several types such as acute or preventive, as well as prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). Acute medications are those used when a migraine attack is currently happening. They are also known as abortive medications. Preventive medications are used on an ongoing basis, even when an attack is not occurring, in the hope that they will prevent or reduce attacks. Preventive medications are also called prophylactic medications.
Prescription Migraine Treatments
Examples of prescription drugs used as abortive medications for acute symptom relief include:
- Calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) blockers
- DHE 45
Examples of preventive or prophylactic prescription medications include:
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Neuronal stabilizing agents or anticonvulsants
Over the Counter (OTC)
OTC medications for acute symptoms relief include:
- Excedrin for migraine
- Ibuprofen, which is sold under the brand names Advil and Motrin
- Naproxen sold under the brand name Aleve
- Acetaminophen sold under the brand name Tylenol
Some home-made remedies include lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and exercising may help reduce the frequency of your attacks.
- Avoid foods that activate your migraine. This may reduce the frequency of attacks.
- Exercises such as yoga promote muscle relaxation which is helpful in managing severe pain.
- Most people with migraines are generally able to manage their condition with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.
Approximately 25% of people suffer from migraine atsome point in their life. Migraine is also caused due to genetic factors. Patients with this disorder often have a strong family history of migraine.
As always, the best source of advice for your headache treatment is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. However, you should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician.