Managing Migraine Pain
A pounding head, waves of nausea, and intolerance for bright lights are some of the symptoms that can be brought on by a migraine headache. While the symptoms and intensity of pain vary from person to person, any migraine sufferer will tell you that the experience can be miserable.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage migraine pain. Medications are often used once a migraine attacks, while paying attention to lifestyle factors may help prevent or lessen the occurrence of migraines.
If you experience migraines, talk with your doctor about tools for managing the pain and consider trying the following:
- Keep a consistent schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Avoid changes whenever possible.
- Eat meals at the same time every day. Don’t delay meals for very long and don’t skip meals.
- Avoid foods likely to cause migraines. Common culprits are red wine, caffeine, nitrites in processed meats, and aged cheeses.
- Moderate exercise can help, but over exertion can actually trigger a migraine. A regular routine of exercise for 30 minutes a day works for many patients.
- At the first sign of a headache, take any prescribed medications. Waiting too long to take medicines can make them less effective. Some patients also find it effective to apply ice to the top of the head or temples, and heat to the neck.
- Limit the use of painkillers or migraine-specific acute medications to no more than two per week. Some medicines can have a rebound effect if used too frequently.
Medications to treat migraines range from over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to prescription medications that constrict blood vessels. Some physicians prescribe medicines such as antidepressants or calcium channel blocker to help prevent migraines.
Still Need Headache Help?
If you need help managing migraine pain, neurologists are specially trained in the management of headaches. Before you see the doctor, try writing down anything that you think may trigger your migraines, how often you experience them, and your symptoms.
The neurologists at LeBauer Healthcare in Greensboro help patients develop individualized migraine medication plans and offer tests if needed to help pinpoint headache problems. To make an appointment, call 336-832-3070.