How to Treat Chronic Migraine Pain
According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, it’s estimated there are some six-million migraine sufferers in the UK. With over 190,000 migraine attacks occurring every single day, over 25-million working days are lost every year. Even so, after decades of research into its causes, the medical profession still hasn’t been able to come up with a migraine relief treatment that suits all sufferers.
Migraines are a more acute form of headache. Alternatively, it could be argued, all headaches, even those mild niggly ones we all suffer from time to time, are a form of migraine. Severe migraine attacks can last from a few hours to a few days, and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, weakness, and sensitivity to light or noise.
Although anyone is susceptible to migraine attacks, women appear to be three times more likely to be sufferers than men. Migraine triggers can include stress, poor quality sleep, overconsumption of alcohol, high or low barometric pressure, and flashing lights such as in video games, photographic flash bulbs or disco lighting.
As with the severity of a migraine attack, symptoms can also differ from person to person. Initial signs, often an hour or two before an impending attack, are likely to include blurred vision, but in severe cases can consist of dizziness, memory loss, speech impairment, numbness, paralysis, and even collapse.
There are a variety of home remedies, over the counter treatments, and prescription only medicines available to provide migraine relief. While what works for some might not work for others, here we’ve researched the most successful treatments, to help ease the symptoms and reduce the length of your next migraine attack.
Lifestyle changes that may help avoid migraine triggers
Many researchers believe that small lifestyle and dietary changes can reduce the likelihood of suffering a bout of migraine. Making sure you have plenty of whole grains, nuts, and dark leaf vegetables such as cabbage in your diet will help keep your levels of magnesium up. Vitamin B2 is important and found in dairy products, chicken, and fish. Butterbur is a herb traditionally offered by the apothecaries of old for pain relief and believed to ease the symptoms of migraine.
You don’t have to be a keep-fit guru, but regular light exercise that gets the heart rate up is known to help ward off a migraine. Exercise helps the body release endorphins, natural chemicals that fight pain, help reduce stress, and improve your sleep pattern.
Having a whole grain cereal breakfast such as porridge may help some, as will eating little and often, rather than two or three large meals. Dehydration is known to cause headaches, so make sure you keep your fluid intake up.
Home remedies that may relieve a migraine attack
Anything from a cold flannel to frozen gel packs or ice packs, placed on the forehead, neck or head, may provide relief for many sufferers. Research is still at an early stage and scientists are not yet sure why a cold/frozen compress works. But it is thought that the cold reduces the flow of blood, allowing the vessels to shrink back and lessen pressure on the brain.
Another popular home remedy, which seems to work for a majority of sufferers, is to lie down and relax in a darkened room. Other home treatments include yoga, and keeping a daily diary of your diet and noting what foodstuffs appear to be associated with migraine symptoms
Over the counter and prescription pain relief
Getting a proper medical diagnosis for migraine is always preferable to self-diagnosis. Your doctor may well recommend over the counter pain relief such as aspirin, paracetamol, or ibuprofen. Ideally, these should be taken in a soluble solution at the first signs of an imminent attack, allowing the medication time to get into the bloodstream. Migraine specific treatments such as Rizatriptan or Sumatriptan, and anti-sickness treatments are also available, and can be taken in conjunction with the above pain killers. Pharmacist’s or doctor’s advice should be sought about dosage and frequency.
The overuse of painkillers is an increasing problem in the UK. Just as with drug addiction, the body gets used to the dosage. Users then have to increase the dosage, to get the same level of pain relief. If you find yourself having to take greater numbers of painkillers, consult your doctor. There is a prescription treatment used together with painkillers called Triptans. Available in tablet, spray, or injection form, it is one of the few treatments explicitly designed to aid migraine relief.