How to Treat a Migraine Carefully
A migraine can best be described as a moderate or extremely severe headache that may be felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
It is a fairly common health condition affecting at least one in every 15 men, and one in every five women.
Essentially, there are various types of migraines, all of them depending on the warning signs received before the migraine begins.
A person that experiences specific warning signs before the migraine commences such as flashing lights is said to have a migraine with aura.
However, in most common cases, we have a migraine without aura whereby the migraine occurs without these specific warning signs.
The exact cause of migraines remains unknown.
However, they are thought to be as a result of abnormal activity in the brain that temporarily affects the nerve signals, blood vessels and chemicals within the brain.
It is unclear what causes these changes in the brain activity, but chances are your genes can make you susceptible to migraines as a result of a specific trigger.
These triggers may be hormonal, emotional, physical, dietary, environmental and in some cases, medical.
The main symptom associated with migraines is an intense headache on one side of your head.
The pain is usually a throbbing sensation that worsens every time you try to move, preventing you from performing your routine activities.
In some cases, the pain may affect both sides of your head or your neck.
Other symptoms attributed to migraines include nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to sound and light.
Currently, there is not specific cure for migraines.
However, there are a number of treatments that you can utilize to ease your symptoms.
It may take you a while to work out the best treatment plan to follow.
In most cases, the best remedy is a combination of various forms of treatments.
Here are some of the treatment plans you can opt for.
Most people find that over-the-counter painkillers are adequate solutions for migraines as they can help relieve your pain.
These painkillers are most effective if taken the moment you get a warning sign of a migraine attack.
This prepares you for the attack, as it gives the painkillers time to get into your bloodstream and ease your pain.
It is not advisable to wait for the headache to worsen before taking painkillers, as it is often too late for the medication to take effect.
Soluble painkillers are the most preferred options since they are quickly absorbed into your body.
However, if you are unable to swallow painkillers due to nausea, you can also opt for suppositories.
If ordinary painkillers have failed you, it is advisable that you visit your physician.
He or she may prescribe you a number of painkillers combined with a type of medication referred to as a triptan.
Triptan medicines are painkillers that are migraine specific.
They work by reversing the changes in the brain that may have caused the migraine.
Essentially, they cause the blood vessels around the brain to contract, thus reversing the dilation of vessels, an integral part of the migraine process.
They are available in the form of pills, injections and nasal sprays.
They are however, associated with a number of side effects such as tingling, warm-sensations, tightness, flushing and feelings of heaviness in the face, chest or limbs.
3. Anti-sickness Medicines
Also commonly referred to as anti-emetics, these are a medications that are successful in treating migraines in some people even when they do not experience symptoms of nausea or vomiting.
They are usually prescribed by a general practitioner and may be taken alongside triptans, painkillers or both.
As with painkillers, this form of treatment works best if taken as soon as the symptoms are vivid.
Their side effects include drowsiness and diarrhea.
If medication is unsuitable, or fails to work, you may want to consider acupuncture.
This is a ancient Chinese treatment in which fine needles are lodged at certain sites along the body for preventative and therapeutic purposes.
The needles stimulate sensory nerves under the skin, thus providing relief from pain.
If the treatments discussed above fail to control your migraine, then your best bet is to see a specialist.
Your general practitioner can recommend you a specialist migraine clinic where you will receive further treatment.