The pain is building and so is your anxiety... you need migraine relief NOW. What do you reach for?
Did you know that over-the-counter pain medications like: ASA, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen are the most common forms of pain relief 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. I had full blown attacks with no pain relief at all, every single time.
Finding effective relief is harder when you have several severe migraine attacks a month, and your pain is not relieved with these over-the-counter medications alone.
And there is risk of overdose because they just don't work effectively enough.
You may have to experiment with different medications or alternative therapies to find what works.
If this is you, it's a good idea to keep a journal. It will help you identify migraine triggers and patterns. Avoiding your triggers is often very effective in reducing the frequency of your attacks. This post has some tips for how to avoid migraine triggers.
Whether your migraines are mild or severe, there is one thing we both have in common – we need relief, and we need it fast.
The only thing that works for me is Naramig in the triptan family of medications with an ibuprofen. I thank my lucky stars I am one of the people that can take them.
After 26 years of migraines, 14 with no effective pain relief, let me share these tips with you so you don't suffer needlessly.
Preventing every migraine attack may not be possible, but it is possible to reduce the severity of the pain, and the frequency of the attacks. These eight tips should 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 see your doctor immediately to discuss your options. You must find over-the-counter meds specific to migraine like Excedrin migraine, or ibuprofen with caffeine for them to be effective.
Headache tablets may not work for a migraine, find out why here - Migraine vs Headache.
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, if you catch it early enough. But at the very least, the pain should 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.
Keeping a good 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.
You can download the basic diary / calendar I use by joining the mailing list.
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. If you can tolerate noise, listen to a soothing meditation CD to help you drift off to sleep. Sleep helps.
5. Use ice.
Although fevers are not generally associated with migraine headaches, you may experience hot pain spots or cold hands and feet. A cool cloth or ice pack on the back of the neck can relieve a lot of pain, very quickly. 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. Negative thoughts can make the pain worse and raise your anxiety levels. At first this may be quite a challenge, but if you practice meditation, it will become easier to quiet the mind before an attack.
Some forms of meditation concentrate on the pain which is supposed to help. Not serious concentrating like the type you may do at work, just focusing on how it feels and where it's coming from. This can make it more intense, so a gentle guided meditation will work better (imo).
It's helpful to focus on your breathing rather than the million thoughts running through your head.
I have a whole section on meditation, it's proven to help reduce migraines.
Sleep often goes hand in hand with migraine attacks. 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.
You heal when you sleep.
Use this to help you drift off - Guided Migraine Meditation for Sleep.
8. Use electric migraine relief products.
Tens machines, biofeedback and personal stress reducing systems like emWave2 can help retrain your body to relax the certain muscle groups associated with migraines. Relaxing both before and after is important.
Tens machines come in all shapes and forms. Electrotherapy is widely used for the treatment of both chronic and acute pain reduction. You can find more things that help here - Useful 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 that help:
They are also worth considering for effective prevention and relief.
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.
This will help explain why it's so effective - Biofeedback and Migraines.
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.
Any way you look at it migraines suck.
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?
Click on the link below to read all the submissions.
I've written a number of posts on migraine relief, so here's the article directory for this section:
• Top 10 Migraine Home Remedies
• Stress Headache Relief Three Easy Options: Cefaly
• Top Migraine Headache Relief Options from A Top Pain Specialist: gammaCore®
• Migraine Relief Secrets 5 Week Free e-Course
• Consider Natural Migraine Relief
• This Home Remedy for Migraine Can Stop Pain: Ginger
• All Migraine Remedies Rely on Timing
• Natural Relief From Migraine Headache - Product Review
• Migraine Relief Alternative Therapies
• A Migraine Pressure Point Routine That Works
• Relief Without Drugs. Is that Possible?
• Homeopathic Relief: Hope or Hype?
• Is Electric Migraine Relief Effective?
• Migraine Headache Remedies I Use
• Home Remedies For Migraines In Children