The treatment of migraines usually involves the use of abortive or preventive medications. Depending on the severity and frequency of your attacks, the medications that you consume may include a single form of therapy, or a combination of both, to alleviate the symptoms experienced. Here are some popular medicinal treatment options to help manage migraines effectively.
Abortive Treatment to Abort Migraine
Abortive treatment of migraines include medications that can be taken when you sense the occurrence of a migraine attack, or during the early onset of an attack. These medications can be taken orally, through self-injection, a skin patch, or nasal spray. Additionally, abortive medications are especially effective for quick treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with migraines.
These medications include triptans and ditans, which are similar in chemical structure and functionality. Both drugs are responsible for stimulating serotonin to reduce inflammation or constrict blood vessels, and in turn stop a migraine attack. They can only be used to treat headaches, and not relieve pain caused by back problems, arthritis and menstruation, amongst other conditions. Certain over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin and caffeine can also be taken to reduce headache-causing inflammations. A few other drugs such as analgesics, barbiturates and narcotics can also help relieve headaches. However, these drugs are not migraine-specific and can create a dependency. Therefore, they should be taken as backup alternative, if and only if, your original prescription runs out.
An Ounce of Prevention, A Pound of Cure
Preventive treatment should be considered if you suffer from frequent migraines (typically more than one attack a week), or if you are experiencing severe forms of migraine symptoms. Therefore, in order to lessen the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, preventive medications should be consumed daily.
These medications include beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, botox and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors. Should you be unable, or do not wish to take medication, you can opt for the use of devices in treating your migraines. For example, a portable headband-like device which gives off electric impulses on the skin of your forehead, and stimulates the nerve associated with migraines for pain relief.
Magnesium as a Migraine Treatment Modality
If you are suffering from migraine aura or menstrual-migraine headaches, supplementing your body with magnesium can aid in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. To preface, magnesium is an essential mineral which is required by your body to function properly. It can improve bone health, regulate blood pressure, and help maintain a steady heart rhythm, and nerve function. In stark contrast, magnesium deficiency can result in fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and muscle cramps and contractions. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to headaches and migraines.
However, magnesium is not easily absorbed by the body unless it is bound to another substance. As such, magnesium supplements are usually combined with other substances, like amino acids. Magnesium oxide is one of the most frequently used supplement forms of magnesium to prevent migraines. It can be taken in pill form, or administered intravenously as magnesium sulfate. That said, do ensure that you speak to a doctor regarding magnesium’s suitability as a supplement for your body, as it is known to also cause some side effects.
Load Up on B Vitamins for A-Class Migraine Relief
Clinical trials are still being conducted to ascertain vitamin B2’s (also known as riboflavin) ability to reduce migraine frequency and severity. However, a research review in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research has concluded that riboflavin can indeed have a significant role in reducing the frequency and duration of migraine attacks, minus the side effects. According to Mark W. Green, MD, a professor of neurology, anesthesiology, and rehabilitation medicine, and director of headache and pain medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, this may be due to its effect on the way cells metabolize energy.
B-vitamins are water soluble by nature, which means that its excess is not stored in the body, but instead excreted through urine. In addition, B-vitamins are excreted very quickly, which makes it unlikely to over consume. Nevertheless, it is still best to speak to a doctor before taking a B-complex vitamin. And in the event that you do intend on supplementing your body with riboflavin for migraine relief, aim to take a maximum of 400 milligrams (mg) divided over 100 mg tablets, twice a day.
A Herbal Take on Relieving Migraines
Unconventional as they may seem, a couple of notable herbal supplements may be helpful in reducing migraine pain and frequency. Butterbur supplements, which are derived from a shrub of the same name, are generally used for alleviating pain, stomach aches and ulcers, apart from treating migraines.
Feverfew supplements, on the other hand, are derived from a flowering daisy plant that is native to Asia Minor and the Balkans for the treatment of migraines and headaches. Given the fact that herbal supplements may sometimes cause harmful side effects, especially in severe cases, it is best to speak to a doctor to understand the risks involved before opting to try them.
Regardless of the type of medications or supplements you take for migraine relief, it has to be understood that you may not be able to experience its effects immediately. They may work differently for each individual, hence why you need to have the patience and discipline to stick by a regimented migraine management routine. At the same time, never assume that all medications and supplements are suitable for your body. Always seek consultation with a doctor before deciding on a pain relief method. Do this right, and you’ll be well on your way to living your best life, one small step forward at a time.
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