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Need a Quick Migraine Cure? Learn How to Stop Migraines Fast

Ferdie earned his BSN in 2016 from Lyceum of the Philippines University and is working as an RN in the emergency department of SPCDH.

A comprehensive guide to migraines and how to stop them.

A comprehensive guide to migraines and how to stop them.

A migraine can happen at any time. You're sitting in your office, writing notes for the morning appointment, when you slowly start to see white, sharp lights flickering in your periphery. The left side of your face goes numb and then the same with your hands. Your head unexpectedly seems enlarged to three times its size. You realize that you're on the verge of getting your next throbbing migraine headache. Several hours later, your meeting is going on without you, and you're locked in the washroom, bracing yourself while experiencing a skull-crushing pain and dizziness. You feel helpless and can only see out of one eye. It starts to feel like your head is placed in a vice. The next morning, a co-worker takes a jab at you for missing work for a simple "headache."

Headache? Hardly. Migraines are a disabling condition that cause problems for 24 million Americans (18% of women and 6% of men) and continue to be highly under-diagnosed. They are not like your normal stress or sinus headaches. Migraines can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days and, in a number of reported cases, can stretch out for months—perhaps even years.

Do you suffer from migraines? Learn a quick cure. In this article, the following topics will be covered:

  1. Migraine Symptoms
  2. Acute Treatments
  3. Alternative Therapies
  4. Ways to Prevent Migraines
  5. Supplements and Herbal Remedies
  6. Stages of a Migraine
  7. What Causes Migraines?
  8. Common Migraine Triggers
  9. Types of Migraines
  10. Are Migraines and Headaches the Same?
  11. Diagnosis
  12. Video guide on how to manage them

1. Migraine Symptoms

  • Reduced vision
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Stroke-like conditions such as numbness to portions of the body.
  • Migraine headaches normally are concentrated on one side of the skull, yet for a few, they can occur in both. There have been many people who report that the pain jumps from one side of the head to the other.

How to Stop and/or Prevent Migraines

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or a combination of both, can be effective in the early stages of a migraine.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, or a combination of both, can be effective in the early stages of a migraine.

There are two methods to treat a migraine:

  1. Acute treatments: for isolated cases, immediately after symptoms begin
  2. Preventative treatment: for recurring cases, to prevent future occurences

2. Acute treatments

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS):

These medicines—which include ibuprofen and aspirin—can be effective in the early stages of a migraine, before any headaches begin. They also work well for headaches that are not yet extremely painful. Some recent studies show that a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine can be effective for migraines. A few aspirin brands, including Excedrin, have started developing this combination in their migraine medicines.

Triptans:

Triptans are serotonin receptor agonists, meaning they are mimic the action of serotonin. Some migraine sufferers call triptans "wonder drugs." Sumatriptan (Imitrex) is generally taken in pill form, or alternatively as a nasal sprayer, which acts faster and is effective for those experiencing dizziness and nausea. For those who suffer from severe migraines with vomiting and who end up in the hospital, the physician may offer you an Imitrex injection. If you buy your own Imitrex injector, you will be able to provide yourself the same shot without the extra steps (and additional time) needed for scheduling a doctor's visit. Nasal and subcutaneous procedures enter into the blood stream faster and help reduce pain more quickly.

Gentle yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help reduce migraines by promoting regular blood flow.

Gentle yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help reduce migraines by promoting regular blood flow.

3. Alternative Therapies

Many people who suffer from migraine headaches also find relief in alternative, non-medicinal treatments. However, these alternatives haven't been studied well enough to confirm or disprove their efficacy. Regardless, many people find relief from these treatments and commonly recommend them.

Below are a few of the widely-used alternative therapies for migraines:

Exercise, Massages, and Breathing and Relaxation Training

Making a routine of these activities may possibly help because they all help promote regular blood flow and reduce stress. These results can all help in protecting against some identified migraine causes.

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Yoga

Yoga applies stretching, various postures, and breathing control to release tension, increase flexibility, and improve blood flow. It promotes calmness and is commonly used in tandem with deep breathing exercises.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique intended to help you gain control of autonomic functions, such as your pulse rate, muscle tension, blood circulation, and oxygen intake, with the aid of a therapist.

Acupuncture

While it may appear painful, most will tell you it's not. Acupuncture involves the insertion of small needles in specific areas on the body to relieve tension. However, a British review of 14 studies has concluded that it may be too early to conclude whether acupuncture can directly reduce or alleviate headache. In spite of this, study-participants that had 12 acupuncture therapies over three months still used 15% fewer painkillers than those who didn't try acupuncture, suggesting that it may work for some people—be it a placebo effect or actual pain relief.

4. Ways to Prevent Migraines

Preventive treatments are useful for those who suffer from chronic migraines. Doctors have discovered that prescribing some drugs for "off-label use" (something different than their original, intended purpose) have become effective in helping out with migraine problems. These include:

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are a very common preventive treatment. There is apparently a relation between serotonin, a brain chemical that controls your mood, and migraines. Using a drug that boosts serotonin is actually powerful in regulating migraines and mood. Because serotonin is a vasoconstrictive chemical (helps your bloodstream and tissues contract) doctors believe that antidepressant medications that boost your serotonin levels contribute to prevent the swelling of the brain vessels and tissues. For this reason, those with vascular condition, hypertension, and coronary ailments should never take these medications.

Antihistamines

An antihistamine called cyproheptadine is likewise noted for supporting to regulate serotonin levels.

Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are medicines you might associate with cholesterol issues or other heart problems. However, they are finding their way into migraine treatment. Other cardiovascular medicines are likewise useful, like calcium-channel blockers and hypertension medicines. Physicians don't really know why these manage to help—it may be because they reduce pressure on bloodstream. However, they've been tested and resulted in helping individuals who experience minor and reduced painful migraines. These are effective when you have heart issues as well as migraines and can't take medicines that increase serotonin levels.

Anti-Seizure Medication

Another alternative treatment possibility would be anti-seizure drugs. Though they are used temporarily for treatment until some other options are chosen. Anti-seizure drugs work by blocking the neurotransmitters that initiate migraine symptoms.