Medication for Migraine: What Are Your Choices
A migraine headache is not something people want to endure often, though persons with chronic migraine headaches used to do just that. Now the person with migraines has choices and medication for migraines need not just consist of a cold cloth and lavender oil or aspirin.
Chronic migraine headaches can be debilitating and for some people – very frequent. Narcotics were an inadequate answer for a person with a migraine headache since the whole idea was to function and be pain-free and any narcotic can be addictive if used in excess. This brought about a completely new line in research and new medication for migraines and new choices for those with chronic migraine headaches.
A migraine headache often shows up in adolescence and continues until around age 60 for those with chronic migraines. Most persons with migraine headaches would only have the choice of aspirin or a trip to the hospital and strong narcotics as recently as 30 years ago.
This has changed immensely though and now the thrust is toward preventing the full-blown migraine headache by avoiding triggers and using interrupting or abortive medication designed to kill the pain and stop the cycle.
Medication for migraine headaches is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and directed to the problems associated with migraine headaches.
Serotonin appears to be low in some people with chronic migraines so some abortive types of (interrupts the migraine before it grows too large) medication for migraines are Triptans, which work on the serotonin level.
This is not a narcotic nor is it an effective painkiller for other types of pain other than headache but is proving to be effective as a medication that works for migraines. Other medications used to interrupt the migraine headache are acetaminophen-isometheptene-dichloralphenazone, dihydroergotamine, and ergotamine tartrate.
Sometimes a migraine will progress too far to be interrupted and in that case, palliative medications are used to help relieve the symptoms. The most obvious of course is the headache pain but nausea is another uncomfortable migraine headache symptom that is addressed by specific medication.
A prophylactic (preventative) approach to migraine headaches is taken when the migraine episodes are several times a month and interfere with the individual’s quality of life and vocation or schooling.
Migraine prevention is often a drug that has been used for another purpose but is effective in preventing chronic migraines. It is important if preventative medication is prescribed that it be taken only as directed by the physician and exactly as directed to be safe and effective.
Though options have grown immensely in what medication for headaches is available one of the most effective treatments at this time for migraine headaches is the identification and avoidance of migraine headache triggers.
With some relatively simple lifestyle changes, regular sleep patterns, moderate exercise and a proper diet many persons who experience migraines can greatly reduce the occurrence without excessive need for medication.
In more severe cases or when a migraine episode gains too much of a foothold the newer medication for migraine headaches is injectable or inhalable which increases their efficiency immensely and control the pain much more quickly.
The days when the only medication for migraine pain was aspirin and a dark room are long past and now a person who experiences migraine headaches can look forward to pain-free days
Migraine Symptoms You Really Need to Know
Migraine symptoms can be quite severe and even incapacitating. Sometimes the symptoms are accompanied by other symptoms. Some people have recurrent attacks of migraine. The most severe and common symptoms of migraine are:
- An intense, pounding headache that only affects one side
- Auras, or warning signs, which might be seeing bright spots or zig-zag patterns that aren’t really there. They tend to disappear when the headache begins
- Nausea and vomiting. Migraine headaches are often called “sick headaches,” because of this symptom
- Numbness or tingling on the same side of the body as the headache
Migraines are caused when the blood vessels in the head dilate a great deal. The pain doesn’t come from the brain, as the brain has no pain receptors, but from the lining of the brain, or the meanings, the scalp, muscles of the head, and their blood vessels. Sometimes the blood vessels in the temple and the neck can be seen to be dilated. Placing cold compresses on them can bring relief, even temporarily.
Some specialists believe that people who suffer from frequent migraines also have a deficiency of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. One of its roles is to help regulate relaxation or constriction of blood vessels.
Migraine Symptoms: Types of Migraine
Some doctors divide migraines into three classes: common, classic and complicated. Interestingly, the symptoms of a complicated migraine may not produce pain. However, this sort of migraine headache has terrible and unpredictable neurological symptoms, like speech disorders, palsy, and hemiparesis.
Migraine symptoms can be triggered by many things, including food allergies, red wine, MSG and nitroglycerine. They can be triggered when a person decides to stop drinking coffee, as caffeine is a drug that constricts blood vessels. Stress can lead to symptoms, as can intense emotions and hormones that come with menstruation, ovulation or birth control pills. Sleep disorders, exhaustion, eye strain, and even weather changes can cause symptoms.
Migraines can be hard to cope with, but there are some things a sufferer can do until they’re over.
Taking an aspirin every day might control migraine symptoms in some people.
Since some foods trigger migraine attacks, it might be good for the sufferer to note what they ate just before the symptoms began and avoid them in the future. Chocolate and hard cheese might trigger an attack.
When they feel a migraine coming on, a patient might want to rest for a while, listen to soothing music and just try to relax.
The patient can also press a cloth dipped in cold water to that side of their head or to their face. This may help the blood vessels to relax, as mentioned above. Other professionals believe that resting the hands in a basin of warm water might also relieve the headache. The patient can also take vasoconstrictors to narrow the blood vessels or take other sorts of pain relievers.