Migraines affect different people in different ways. Some might experience a splitting headache, while others may feel nauseated or fatigued. While some will experience a warning “aura” that a migraine is on its way, others will find they come on suddenly.
Most common migraine symptoms include:
- A splitting headache on one side of the head
- Feeling sick or being sick
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
You might also feel sweaty, irritable and have trouble concentrating. Around one-third of people who suffer from migraines will experience an “aura” before it strikes. This is usually a visual disturbance, dizziness or trouble balancing. While unpleasant, it can be helpful to know when a migraine is on its way so you can prepare with the right headache and pain relief medications and practices.
The headache stage of a migraine will typically last from 4-72 hours. If you have frequent migraines – more than 5 per month – you should consult a doctor to find out if a specific medication could be helpful.
What causes a migraine?
Migraines affect people in different ways, and the causes aren’t always obvious. Some people find it helpful to keep a journal to learn more about their triggers and help avoid future flare-ups.
Some practices that migraine sufferers find useful are, avoiding certain foods, keeping stress levels in check or getting a good night’s sleep. Migraine tracker apps can help you better understand your triggers and symptoms. These will also help you to make links to environmental factors such as air pressure changes or pollution.
Women may find that their migraines are triggered by changes in hormone levels throughout the month. The combined oral contraceptive pill has also been linked to increased migraine occurrence. If this is something you notice as a regular concern for you, you should speak to your GP about any potential treatments that could help.
How To Get Rid Of A Migraine?
The first step of learning how to get rid of a migraine is to understand what is causing it. Next, is about testing which processes and medications work best for you. Remember, it’s always important to consult a doctor before changing or taking any medication.
Your first migraine can be scary, particularly if you have visual disturbances during the aura phase. The important thing is to stay calm and create an environment where you can rest and recuperate. Most people prefer to retreat to a darkened room and take a nap until their migraine passes.
Avoiding bright lights and switching off the TV, putting away your phone and closing the curtains have also been shown to help. Moving around can make your headache worse, so be prepared to stay put for the duration.
You might also find that you are more sensitive to strong smells during a migraine attack. Open a window to let some fresh air in so you can rest easy. A warm or cool compress on your head might offer some comfort too.
What is the best over-the-counter medicine for migraine headaches?
As mentioned above, the most common types of pain relief medications used for headaches or migraines are paracetamol or ibuprofen. These are both often effective for easing the pain, but it is water-soluble painkillers that are usually most effective because they are absorbed into the body faster than capsules or tablets.
It’s important to remember, even with over the counter medication, be sure you consult a medical professional to ensure this is right for you. Pay attention to the number of painkillers you are taking being careful to never exceed the daily dose.
Do I need a prescription for migraine medication?
If you have frequent and severe migraines, your doctor may need to prescribe medication to help ease the severity and the frequency of the attacks.
There is a whole range of medications that a doctor may prescribe based on what they believe to be the main cause for your attacks. Migraines are thought to be the result of widened blood vessels in the brain, so they may prescribe medications to reverse this.
Anti-sickness medication may also be recommended, to be used alongside painkillers to treat both symptoms. Finally, stronger painkillers may also be offered. A pain killer like co-codamol contains paracetamol and codeine. Codeine is an opioid pain reliever that is available in low doses over-the-counter, but the use of this needs to be monitored due to its habit-forming side effects.
What is the best migraine relief?
In summary, if you suffer from migraines you probably just want to know how to stop them. Start by trying to determine your triggers. This can lessen the frequency and the severity of your migraine attacks. Create a migraine action plan and let your friends and family know about it too, this can help them to support you when you need their help. You might not be cured of migraines, but if you can make them less uncomfortable, you’re on the right track!
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Disclaimer: Always consult a medical professional if you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, before taking medication, or before stopping or changing medication.