Migraines affect millions of people and are responsible for billions of dollars in healthcare costs. They are painful, pounding, and throbbing, occurring at the worst time of the day. They are one of the most common reasons people end up in the emergency room. The good thing is, there are some steps that a person can take to relieve migraine pain quickly.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Migraine?
- Pre-migraine symptoms include neck stiffness, increased thirst, change in mood, constipation, increased yawning, cravings.
- Aura includes auditory, visual, or physical disturbances like seeing shapes, numbness, or hearing phantom noises.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Light, sound, or touch sensitivity
- Throbbing is intense or pulsing pain on one or more sides of the head.
- Post-migraine symptoms include mood change, excessive tiredness, confusion, pain with sudden movement)
What Are the Causes of Migraines?
Migraine is a different type of headache. It is a genetic neurological disease that interplays between the pain neurons in the brain and the blood vessels. Also, it can be triggered by different factors, stimuli, conditions, and foods.
In addition, these triggers vary from person to person, with the most common including:
Food Allergy/Bowel and Gut Imbalances
Under this factor, migraine’s symptoms can be brain fog, fatigue, bloating, joint or muscle pain, irritable bowel syndrome, sinus congestion, postnasal drip, etc.
The treatment is an elimination diet, such as getting rid of gluten, eggs, dairy, corn, and yeast, which is a good way to start. Other important things to make the gut healthy are enzymes, omega-3 fats, and probiotics.
Some causes are processed-food diet including aspartame, nitrates (in deli meats), MSG (monosodium glutamate), sulfites that are found in dried fruit, food from salad bars, and wine. Also, those tyramine-containing foods like chocolate and cheese can trigger.
The treatment is to eliminate sweeteners, additives, sulfites, and processed food. Ensure to eat whole foods and phytonutrients.
The causes are premenstrual syndrome, which includes cravings, bloating, fluid retention, irritability, menstrual cramps, breast tenderness—also, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and oral contraceptive pill use. In addition, pre-menopausal can also trigger, which leads to too much estrogen and not enough progesterone due to changes in ovulation.
This treatment is eating whole foods, low-glycemic load, a high-phytonutrient diet with soy, flax, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Also, the herbs such as Vitex, along with magnesium and B6, can help. Ensure to avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and exercise and stress reduction techniques.
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are anything that feels tight or crampy, like constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, muscle cramps, sensitivity to loud noises, palpitations, and twitching.
The treatment for this are citrate, Magnesium glycinate, and aspartate in doses to relieve symptoms until getting loose bowels. In the case of kidney disease, a doctor’s supervision is needed.
The mitochondrial imbalances can cause fatigue, muscle aching, and brain fog, although sometimes the only symptom can be migraines.
The treatment for this is to take riboflavin (B2) 400 mg twice a day and coenzyme Q10 100 to 400 mg a day to help the migraine.
How to Get Rid of A Migraine Headache?
Being proactive when the migraines begin can help since the sooner the person starts mitigating its effects, the better the situation will be. Some treatments may involve taking over-the-counter and prescribed medicines and other measures to help with the symptoms.
Moreover, there is now a range of medications to relieve migraine attacks. Those medications delivered as tablets or pills, nasal sprays, suppositories, or injections can include the following:
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors are newer medications that help block the CGRP, a small protein involved in pain transmission when a migraine attacks.
- Dopamine antagonist antiemetics, medications for nausea and vomiting, could also help the effects of migraines. Compazine (prochlorperazine), Thorazine (chlorpromazine), and Reglan (metoclopramide) are among the most prescribed.
- Over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil Migraine (ibuprofen), and Excedrin Migraine (aspirin), which are widely available pain-relieving drugs that may work for mild attacks.
- Opioids like butorphanol, codeine, ConZip (tramadol), and Demerol (meperidine), stronger pain-killing drugs, can help manage headaches. Note that these should be used sparingly since they have many side effects and have high abuse potential.
- Triptans like sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and others are the first-line treatment and are regarded as the most successful prescription class of drugs for a migraine attack. Not only do they help with pain, but they also treat associated nausea, light sensitivity, and other symptoms.
Also, migraines can be helped with transcutaneous nerve stimulation, which uses a mild electric current to deliver to the specific nerve areas through the skin using wearable devices that can also be done at home. The electricity essentially scrambles the pain messaging when migraines start.
Furthermore, the following methods may also help relieve pain:
- Drinking water
- Look for a quiet, dark place to rest with eyes closed
- Having a caffeinated beverage
- Placing ice or cool cloth on your forehead
- Taking a nap
When to Seek Professional Treatment?
Knowing when to see a doctor is another critical aspect of living with migraines. Get emergency medical help if you experience:
- Sudden onset of headache;
- Loss of balance or other neurological symptoms;
- Worst headache that is ever experienced before;
- Speaking problems, along with vision and motor function.
In this case, alert the doctor if any of the following happens:
- Treatments aren’t working anymore.
- Change in the pattern of the headaches.
- Headaches are worse when lying down.
- Experiencing side effects from medications.
- Taking medications for pain three or more days a week.
- Started taking birth control while on medications.
Migraines can have debilitating effects on a person’s daily life. To help identify the causes and relieve the pain, Cache Valley ENT offers Headache & Migraine Relief for your regular headaches or migraines. Ultimately, they will help you identify and evaluate the causes of your headaches or migraines to eliminate or reduce the symptoms’ frequency and severity.