You need migraine relief NOW. The pain is building and so is your anxiety. Did you know that over-the-counter pain medications like: ASA, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen are the most common forms of control for most sufferers? I can tell you from experience they never helped me.
The over-the-counter tablets I tried never touched the side of my migraines. They did nothing.
Meaning complete breakthrough pain, every time.
Finding effective relief is harder for individuals experiencing several severe migraine attacks a month, or whose pain is not relieved with over-the-counter medication.
In these cases, a headache journal should be maintained. The journal will help you identify migraine triggers. Avoiding these triggers is often very effective in reducing the frequency and severity of an attack.
Whether your migraines are mild or severe, there is one thing we all have in common – we need relief, and we need it fast. The only thing that works for me is Naramig in the triptan family. I thank my lucky stars I am one of the people that can take them.
Avoid your migraine triggers at all costs, I say! But then, you probably already do that.
I think it becomes instinct. I've had no desire to eat chocolate for over 20 years .... why would I give myself a migraine?
Anyway, I digress ...
Common migraine triggers include diet, lack of exercise and irregular sleeping habits.
Caffeine can be a trigger or it can abort an attack if you do not drink it regularly. If you are not addicted to coffee it can provide relief.
A few lifestyle changes could greatly reduce the number of migraines you experience.
• Keep regular sleeping hours. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday.
• Exercise regularly. It doesn't have to be rigorous exercise, as long as it is regular, preferably at least ten minutes every day. Make an extra effort not to let travel, a busy schedule or holidays interfere with your workout routine.
Make a solid commitment to exercise daily. This will not only improve your overall health, it will help you sleep better and improve your appetite. Just don't over do it, because over-exertion can trigger a migraine as well.
• Don't fast or skip meals. Proper exercise should keep your appetite up, so luckily you won't even want to skip a meal.
• Reduce stress. Regular exercise, a good diet and relaxation techniques should help you keep your stress at manageable levels.
• Limit your caffeine intake.
• If light or glare is a trigger, wear sunglasses and avoid bright lights. I can also recommend using an anti-glare screen or anti-glare LCD protection film for your computer. Mine has made a huge difference with reducing glare.
• Keep a food diary to identify any food that may be a migraine trigger for you. Since hormones may also be a factor, some foods might trigger a migraine one month, but not the next. Keep track of these trends, as well.
Preventing every migraine attack is not possible, but it is possible to reduce the severity of the pain, and the frequency of the attacks. These eight tips might help you find more effective migraine relief.
1. Get the right over-the-counter medication.
Having a migraine headache might make you feel like your head will explode, and in many cases regular headache pills will NOT help. Please read migraine vs headache. You must find OTC meds specific to migraine like Excedrin migraine, or ibuprofen with caffeine.
A natural approach to finding quick migraine relief is to have one or two short black coffees if you are not a regular coffee drinker. I used this for two years before I got addicted to caffeine (oops!). In some cases, the migraine may disappear completely, but at the very least, the pain will lessen.
2. Take action right away. A S A P for effective migraine relief.
This is another important reason for keeping a diary or journal. Knowing the symptoms of the early stages of a migraine will alert you as to when one is coming on, which will help you take action quicker. The quicker you can take a medication (that works) or eat nausea reducing food, the less severe and shorter your migraine headache will be.
A migraine can literally knock you off your feet. If you don't take quick action you could be stuck somewhere, unable to drive home or call for help. The longer you wait, the less chance you have of finding faster migraine relief.
3. Keep track of what works for you.
Again, the migraine diary is vital. Every migraine episode could be different, and every migraine sufferer is different. What works for one person during one episode may not work for the next, and may not work for another person at all. The better you know yourself and understand which methods are the most effective, the less you will suffer.
4. Try to relax.
If you are too weak or blurry to do relaxation exercises, just lie down. Make the room as dark and quiet as possible.
5. Use ice.
Although fevers are not generally associated with migraine headaches, a cool cloth or ice pack on the back of the neck can relieve a lot of pain. A cool, damp cloth over your eyes can also relieve the pain around the eyes and block out bright light.
Unlike regular headaches, during a migraine headache the blood vessels swell, which makes them release more of the chemicals causing the pain. The ice will help these vessels get back to normal, and thereby reduce the pain. Heat may make them worse.
6. Clear your head.
Try to empty out all of the mental chatter going on inside your head. Noise can make the pain worse, even if the noise is all in your head. At first this may be quite a challenge, but if you practice meditation, this will become easier.
Focus on your breathing rather than the million thoughts running through your head.
Many people find that concentrating on the pain helps. Not serious concentrating like the type you may do at work, just focusing on how it feels and where it is coming from.
Sleep often goes hand in hand with relaxing in a dark room. When you lie down in a dark room and feel yourself drifting off, don't fight it.
Sometimes your body may be telling you it needs a rest
in order to deal with the migraine. Sleep will also block out all light
and noise, and help you relax.
8. Use electric migraine relief products.
Tens machines, biofeedback and personal stress reducing systems like emWave 2 can help re-train your body to relax the certain muscle groups associated with migraines. Relaxing both before and after is important.
Ten machines come in all shapes and forms. Electrotherapy is widely used for the treatment of both chronic and acute pain reduction. For more details please click on migraine products.
I have not had great success with my tens machine, but I use it anyway to help the body. And it's cheaper than going to an acupuncturist.
I have also written about these devices to help with Stress Headache Relief: Cefaly and Migraine Headache Relief: gammaCore. They might also be worth considering. Click on the links to see more details.
Biofeedback is quickly becoming part of mainstream medicine for migraine treatment. This
personal computerized biofeedback training system called Wild Divine can
help you avoid your next attack. I had great success with this one.
Read biofeedback and migraines for more specifics.
Other ways to get fast migraine relief includes prescription drugs, medical devices and surgery. These types of
treatments are usually reserved for chronic cases, because chronic
sufferers experience the greatest amount of disruption to their daily
That does not mean episodic migraines are any less painful. People with occasional attacks suffer just as much as the ones with a chronic condition. The major difference is that a chronic sufferer will have an attack two or more times a month, while an episodic sufferer may only have a few attacks a year.
Episodic migraine attacks are also more difficult to prevent, because you never know when one will strike. Chronic migraine attacks often, but not always, follow a pattern, and occur around the same time every month.
Like I said, whether your migraines are chronic or episodic, there is one thing all us sufferers have in common – we want migraine relief, and we want it fast.
Send in your tips on the form below to share your effective migraine relief routine with other readers.
I believe that we can all learn from each other, and who knows who else you might help with your own combination of remedies?
Browse the links to see what else works.
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