What is a good way to get rid of a migraine?
Answer: A way that works in half of cases is to rub lidocaine (WITHOUT EPHINEPHRINE) in either liquid or gel form, on the inner part of the middle of the nose. (Lidocaine as used for migraines or trigeminal neuralgia is prescribed as an 4-8% intranasal solution, studies have shown it as both an abortive and possible preventative)
- Some migraines are triggered by stress, in particular the building up of anger. So, one method of relieving the pain is to relax. Let all your anger go, as it is hurting only you.
- Turn out the lights, pull shades and close the curtains. Turn off and otherwise eliminate all noise. Lay down comfortably, whether that means flat on your back with no pillow or on your side with two pillows. Simply relaxing in a dark, quiet room is often enough to quickly alleviate your pain.
- Intake caffeine. While caffeine can sometimes trigger a migraine, it can also be used to relieve it.
- Move to a different environment. Smells, noise and even colors may have triggered your headache. You may actually be able to get rid of the pain simply by moving away from the trigger.
- First off, be sure it IS a migraine.
Consult your physician; you should be referred to a specialist in migraines or to a neurologist. After ruling out more serious possibilities, you may be prescribed Imitrex or any of numerous other medications that treat migraines with great success.
If you cannot obtain these medications because of their cost (Imitrex, for example, is roughly forty dollars per 50 mg. tablet!), try this: lie down in a darkened room with your head propped up and a cold compress over your eyes and forehead. Stay very still and rest, keep your mind clear. Stay hydrated.
Some migraines can take up to three days to go away.
ANY headache that will not go away and that severely impairs your ability to function should be considered a medical emergency. This is particularly true if numbness or loss of muscular control on one side accompanies the headache.
A "migraine" is NOT the same thing as a "tension headache" -- they are completely unrelated. I have seen many articles saying sex and aerobics help tension headaches; I have never seen one claiming those things help migraines. I'd be interested in seeing the clinical studies that back that claim.
Once you cross the threshold of having two or more migraines a month, you qualify for preventive medications. Medications such as SSRIs, tricyclic anti-depressants, anti-epileptic medications, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers all can play a part in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. If you haven't reach that magic number yet, you can try prevention with the following things:
- ** Oral magnesium
- B-complex supplement, in particular B2
- Fish oil
It happens to everyone, even those who manage their migraine triggers superbly, and have found their magic preventative method: sometimes we still get them. What do we do then?
It is extremely important to recognize the prodrome or aura phase of the migraine. If you don't, begin your abortive therapy as SOON as you begin to experience pain. This includes pain medication, as pain medication works much better if it can get its foot in the door before the attack is in full swing.
Abortive Therapies (Medical):
- ** Over the counter medications like Excedrin, two doses of
- Other strong prescription NSAIDs, like Toradol, Ketoprofen, Diclofenac, Indomethacin
- The triptans are the major abortive medication prescribed. (You have not tried all the triptans, until you have tried ALL seven. Each one works slightly differently with serotonin receptors)
- DHE nasal spray (Migranal)
- Steroid tapers
- Certain anti-nausea medications, namely Reglan and Compazine, can abort migraines because they affect the re-uptake of dopamine. Dopamine excess is thought to be a component of migraine in some people.
- Caffeine - for some caffeine is a trigger, for others it is a blessing.
- Lidocaine nasal spray or drops
- Benadryl, Periactin or other histamine reducing allergy medicines.
Nausea/Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting is often one of the more miserable migraine symptoms aside from the pain. You can try at home methods, like ginger, REAL Coke (not diet), and simple carbohydrates - like crackers. You can take an OTC nausea medicine, like Dramamine/Gravol. Or you can be prescribed a medication, such as Reglan, Phenergan, or Compazine. If you are vomiting too much to take an oral form, you can ask for all three in suppository form.
- Once again, OTC medications like Excedrin and Aleve, sometimes even just plain aspirin, can dull the pain of migraines. Stronger NSAIDs can help as well.
- Narcotic medications
- Ice on the back of the neck or Direct ice rubbed over the painful side of the head for no more than 10 minutes (limited to once every 2 hours)
- TENS unit or Interferential Stimulator
Other methods of management:
- Botox injections (an injection to paralyze the nerve from sending pain signals)
- Greater Occipital Nerve Block (an injection of local anesthetic and a steroid to temporarily freeze the nerve and reduce inflammation)
- NTI Oral Appliance (a dental mouthpiece worn overnight to prevent jaw clenching and teeth grinding)
- Surgery for Patent Foramen Ovale
- Myofascial Therapy
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Microvascular Decompression Surgery (helpful for migraines that occur with occipital neuralgia)
- Surgery for Chiari Malformation
- Occipital Nerve Implant (implanting of electrodes into the scalp)
If you end up in the ER, there are many things they can do for you besides just narcotic relief.
- ** IV Saline (because dehydration is a trigger)
- IV Benadryl
- IV Decadron
- IV Lidocaine
- IV Magnesium
- IV Depakote
- IV Compazine
- IV Keppra
- IV Propofol
- IV Ketamine
- IV Robaxin