Anyone who has ever dealt with migraines needs no introduction to how painful and debilitating they can be. For those suffering from chronic migraines, quality of life is often impacted.
Migraines are considered chronic when a person has headaches on more days than not. There various traditional and alternative treatment options for migraines that may be available to offer relief and restore your quality of life.
Medications are a very common treatment option for those who suffer from migraines. This method is normally are broken up into two categories: pain relief and prevention.
- Pain relief medications fall along a spectrum of options depending on the severity of the migraines. Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used alone or in combination with drugs such as caffeine to help alleviate the symptoms of more mild migraine attacks. However, most individuals who suffer from chronic and severe migraines may receive little to no benefit from these options as they are less potent and do not have long-lasting effects. Medications, such as those for anti-nausea, may be prescribed to help patient’s manage the adverse symptoms commonly associated with migraines.
- Preventative medications are commonly prescribed for issues aside from migraines but may help with the symptoms associated. Some of these include medications for hypertension, depression, seizures, and so on. As they all have a number of side effects and intended actions, it should be discussed carefully with one’s physician.
While most known for use in cosmetic procedures, Botox is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic migraines in adults who are age 18 and older. A form of botulinum toxin, Botox works to prevent migraines before they start by entering the nerve endings around where it is injected and blocking the release of chemicals that are involved in pain transmission.
Adequate hydration and nutrition is often the most overlooked aid in relieving symptoms associated with migraines. When the body is dehydrated, migraines will often be more severe, especially in those who have a prior history. By ensuring proper hydration, the blood stream’s concentration is at a more ideal level, allowing for adequate flow to the brain and the body as a whole. If water intake is greatly increased, be sure to add in electrolytes so as to maintain the body’s natural balance.
In addition to water, there are a number of foods that have been shown to help relieve the painful symptoms of migraines. Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have anti-inflammatory properties and help with metabolism at the brain. This can help to reduce the pain levels associated with more severe migraines.
Your physician may recommend that you work with a registered dietician as part of your treatment plan for chronic migraines.
Based on eastern medicine and the concept of meridians, this method utilizes different trigger points to alleviate migraine pain. Case studies have shown some degree of success depending on the patient and their pain. According to the American Migraine Foundation, the frequency of headache is dropped by 50% or more in up to 59% of individuals receiving acupuncture and this effect can persist for more than 6 months.
Some individuals have found that working with a therapist has helped them learn how to interpret and understand their pain better, which has allowed them to gain an understanding of their condition and better control their perception of pain. A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy can also aid in the treatment of anxiety and depression, which are extremely common in patients suffering from chronic pain conditions.
Meditation can be effective for individuals whose migraines are triggered by stress, anxiety and tension. The idea is that by alleviating the underlying cause of stress, mind-body techniques like meditation can help relieve headaches and potentially prevent them from occurring in the first place. Some brain wave and imaging studies suggest that the practice of mindful meditation can actually modify brain structure and activity.
When to Seek Help
Whether you suffer from minor or severe pain caused by migraine headaches, the physicians at Regional Neurosurgical Associates can help you live a normal, pain-free life. Our goal is to determine what is triggering your migraine and provide long-term solutions to help prevent future cases. Call Regional Neurological Associates at (718) 515-4347 to schedule an appointment today.