Treat a Migraine

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

About two thirds of migraine sufferers cannot function at a normal level when they get a migraine attack. You should see a doctor if your headaches interfere with work or family life, if headaches are getting worse, or if you take medication on a daily basis for headache. Below are 10 simple solutions to ease your migraine pain, but are not intended as substitutes for the advice of a doctor.

1. Get a good night's sleep. Changes in sleep patterns, changing shifts, and jet lag can trigger migraines. Try to maintain a regular schedule and get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
2. Lie down, put an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a cold compress on your throbbing head to soothe swollen, pulsing blood vessels until the pain subsides.
3. If you don't want to put a cold compress on your head to relieve the pain, soak one or both of your hands in ice water for as long as you can tolerate it. While your hands are in the water, ball them into fists and open and close them repeatedly. It can have the same effect as a compress on your head.
4. Believe it or not, caffeine works! It's a paradox of headaches: Ingest too much caffeine and you may get a headache, but take a little bit and it can help make the pain disappear. Studies have shown that aspirin and ibuprofen are more effective when combined with caffeine. So if you take aspirin or ibuprofen at the onset of a migraine, wash it down with a cup of coffee.
5. Keep the room dark. Light sometimes aggravates migraine symptoms, lie down in a dark room.
6. Do not skip meals. Skipping meals can trigger a migraine attack. If you can, eat smaller meals throughout the day or be sure to eat three meals.
7. Take note of what you eat. Certain foods triggers a migraine attack in about ten percent of migraine sufferers. It can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours for a food to cause a reaction. If you get a migraine, think back to what you ate in that time frame and try eliminating some of those foods from your diet.
8. Take riboflavin. Studies have shown that taking 400 milligrams a day of riboflavin can help eliminate migraines.
9. Spice it up. The hot ingredient in red pepper, capsaicin, is a terrific painkiller and may help those who have migraines feel better during an attack. You do not need to include red pepper in all your meals. You can buy cayenne pepper capsules in health food stores.
10. Try not to sleep late on weekends. Though it might seem like a reward to relax and sleep in, giving yourself that letdown after stress is a common trigger. Waking up late can also trigger a migraine by changing your normal sleep pattern and may cause you to miss breakfast which also triggers a migraine. If you really must sleep late on the weekends, try sleeping with a tiny bit of your window open to let air in.
11. If you're prone to vomiting during migraines, keep a can of Campbell's Chicken Broth upside down in your refrigerator. Really. After you're finished in the bathroom, take out the can, turn it right-side up, open, pour out the broth (leave the fat stuck to the top), and drink it once you're able. Replaces needed electrolytes, etc., helps relieve the weakness and general malaise. Don't know why Campbell's works better than any other brand, but it does.
12. In some cases, low levels of the hormone progesterone appear to increase the frequency and severity of migraines. If you are a woman, and your migraines occur more often in the 2 weeks before menses, be suspicious and ask your doctor to check your progesterone levels (note: many doctors are unaware of this link, but if your levels are found to be low, they may be willing to prescribe supplementation). Progesterone is safe enough to be sold without prescription (Progest cream is a good brand), and it's worth a try, but some migraine sufferers require a higher dose than the non-prescription cream can provide. There are even occasional reports that a much smaller dose of progesterone can help relieve migraines in men (no studies done, though). More information on progesterone supplementation can be found at How to Get Through PMS. WARNING: Provera is NOT the same as natural progesterone and has been known to INCREASE migraine symptoms; if you are going to try progesterone make sure it IS progesterone (Progest, Prometrium, or compounded progesterone are; Provera, medroxyprogesterone, or birth control pills are NOT).

If symptoms persist, promptly seek the advice of a medical professional. Follow directions of medications precisely particularly for drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.


Dana Telecom said...

I will try this tips to avoid the migraine.

chiel said...

Before I went to take a nap I had a terrible headache. When I woke up still had it. What you wrote are all true. So I tried pepsi, seems working. Your article is very informative.
Thanks for posting..

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