Are you feeling overwhelmed trying to choose the right treatment for severe headaches?
For years as I sought more effective migraine treatments, I would often walk out of the doctors consultation feeling emotional and confused. S/he would give me an enormous amount of scientific data and alternative options which I thought I would remember... and never could.
Once emotion steps in, intellect steps out!
So here are some strategies and tips for you to use should you find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the whole ordeal.
Once you can get things organized, you can feel much better in appointments and be able to monitor your results.
You’ll need to consider a number of things to be proactive and help stop your headaches as soon as possible.
If you get severe headaches, you’ll most likely need to consider medications like pain relievers: aspirin, ibuprofen, that could help relieve mild migraine attacks. There are medications marketed specifically for migraines like Excedrin migraine which is the combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine - these may help ease mild to moderate migraine pain.
Here are the different things to consider when forming your treatment plan:
There’s a huge selection of medications for treatment for severe headaches that your doctor will consider. Here’s a short list:
After decades of trial and error, here are my top 10 tips...
Here are some more important tips you might want to include in your migraine pain management and treatment strategy:
1. Ask your chemist or pharmacist for a print out of your migraine medication from MIMS or what ever system they use in your country. The printout will list additional information for you and the expected side effects. Call your doctor if you have any, or book into see him/her immediately if you have any concerns.
2. Write out the instructions from both the doctor and the chemist.
Details are essential:
One of the best things I ever did was to write the information I need on a little pink recipe card so when I am too far gone in pain I can just read the card and I know:
As I change the medications, I change the cards. I never get confused this way when the pain is too bad to concentrate.
And I keep the card right in front of my meds, or in the box so I never have to look for it. This has been essential to me over the years when I just can't think straight.
3. Try to form a routine with your medications. Take your prophylactic medications exactly as prescribed – the same dose - at the same time(s) every day. Do not stop taking or change your medications unless you first talk with your doctor.
Write out your own migraine headache new treatment plan or a pain management strategy. I have a step-by-step plan in my course to help you with this. It's free to enroll and the first module is free. Here's the link - Migraine Pain Management Course.
4. Involve your family and loved ones. You can show your family your plan too and write out what they can do to help in your time of need like: be extra quiet, take dinner from freezer, walk the dog, pick up kids... you get the picture. They love you, they will want to help.
5. Keep a migraine diary (you can print out the simple one I recommend by joining my mailing list). It looks just like a normal calendar at the top with spaces on the left for any medications so you can keep track each day of what you are taking, and spaces below for notes and triggers.
calendar or journal is useful to list any changes you notice or to make
notes when your Doctor changes your meds.
6. Be prepared. Keep a supply of your medication at home and take one with you for emergencies at all times. So take your abortive with you wherever you go.
7. Do not take over the counter headache tablets if you have migraines - they are not effective for migraines. It’s a different thing all together. They are, however, a good choice of treatment for severe headaches in some cases - so check with your doctor.
8. Keep really good records. You can get my medication tracker and medication notes to use when you join the mailing list.
Research shows that the way the body responds to
medications may change over time, so they may need to be adjusted. Tell
your doctor if you notice a difference in the effectiveness of your
chosen treatment using the symptom tracker in the course... here's the link:
9. Studies have shown that each type of migraine medication is most effective when used in combination with other medical recommendations like dietary and lifestyle changes, exercise, and relaxation therapy.
This is important! Learning to relax will increase the efficacy of your medications too.
10. Find what works and DO IT! Experiment... perfect... rinse... and repeat. Now you can write your own migraine pain management and treatment plan and add to it as you learn what works for you.
Here are a few other things to consider for your treatment for severe headaches:
Avoid common migraine triggers like alcohol, caffeine or poor sleep.
Learn some new stress management skills.
Implement good sleep practices. This means having a regular bedtime schedule and avoiding day time naps. Reduce caffeine and TV (exposure to blue light) before bedtime.
Progressive muscle relaxation – involves tensing and then relaxing muscle groups from head to toe or vice versa.
Acupuncture – a method in traditional Chinese medicine for unblocking blocked meridians. Needles are inserted into specific points on the body to relieve pain and treat many other conditions to bring the body into harmony and restore health and well-being.
If you're not getting the results you want, consider seeing a specialist. Your General Practitioner (GP) might not be the best person to help you handle your severe attacks.
General Practitioner (GP) – your physician is your first port of call to help with your treatment for severe headaches. They diagnose and then help treat and prevent your health issues. The will also refer you onto the headache specialists you require.
Neurologist – mainly treats nervous system disorders. Not all neurologists deal with treatment for severe headaches or migraines, so make sure you find one that specializes in headache.
A specialized headache clinic. This might be best. A clinic dedicated to treating severe headaches and migraines will have all the professionals you need to see to get your best results.
Until next time... be as pain free as possible,