Besides the debilitating pain, migraineurs often experience some symptoms that precede and/or last during the time the migraine episode is on. Here’s a list of some of the symptoms a migraineur may experience before or during an attack:
- Sleep disturbances
- Visual disturbances/aura
- Hyper-sensitivity to sound
- Hyper sensitivity to light
- Increased sensitivity to odours
- Frequent yawning
- Frequent need to urinate
- Non-visual aura
Symptoms and Some Fixes (1)
The exact reason why a migraine attack begins is not yet clear to scientists. However, based on years of data gathered from cases that report for treatment assistance to clinics and hospitals, several migraine triggers have been identified.
Despite the extreme discomfort migraines give, it is possible to obtain symptomatic relief at least some extent. Here are a few tips at what can be done should you be in the grips of a migraine attack. However, it is important to keep in mind that the priority is get a medical help and consultation at the earliest. The tips below are to serve only till you are able to see a doctor. (2)
- Excruciating pain
Pain may be tackled with NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) brufen, naproxen, diclofenac sodium etc. It may also be managed by analgesics such as paracetamols, spirins etc. However, it is recommended that you take any one of them as per the dosage and instructions on the label after a light meal of complex carbohydrates or some non-acidic foods. It is important that painkillers be taken at the first signs of migraine. Putting an ice pack on the painful area also helps. (3)
Nausea may be tackled with taking of anti-emetic along with the analgesic in the prescribed dosage. It is also important to not stay on an empty stomach for long durations. A light snack taken frequently helps in stubbing the queasiness and helps by utilising the excessive bile migraineurs release during attack episodes.
- Visual Aura
The best way to manage a visual aura is to stop or put down what you are doing and stand until you can get to a place where you can sit or lay down. It is dangerous to operate any machinery or drive at such times. Breathing in deeply and fully and massaging of temples with a balm may aid temporarily.
- Light and sound sensitivity
Going to a dark room or one with curtains drawn and lights turned off helps. Wearing dark glasses helps when outdoors. Noise disturbances may be managed with an earplug or by putting cotton wool in the ears to keep out or dull the surrounding noises.
Constipation may be helped by taking tepid fluids such as warm milk or ginger tea or warm water etc. It is also advisable to have allergy-free natural laxatives like flaxseeds and high fiber diet including wholegrain cereals if you are gluten tolerant.
Yet another accompanying nuisance with migraines, diarrhoea may be managed by taking stomach-binding foods and avoiding those with high fibre content.
Holistic Health Therapist recommended the inclusion of herbs such as feverfew, St. John’s Wort and butterbur in one’s diet. Conventional physicians are of the opinion that calcium and magnesium supplements help take the edge off migraines. Tryptophan and omega 3 rich foods and B vitamins are also advised by doctors.
Complementary Alternative Medicines offer support therapy that aid in the management of migraines. Help comes from the sciences of yoga, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, shiastu, acupuncture, sujok, biofeedback, chiropractic, cranial osteopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, reiki, Alexander technique, autogenic training etc
MAINSTREAM MIGRAINE MEDICATION
- Excedrin Migraine
Excedrin is a leading non-prescription drug from Novartis from the acetaminophen or paracetamol family that uses a combination of paracetamol with caffeine and aspirin designed especially to tackle migraine pain. Excedrin is available in geltab, tablet and caplet forms. Dosage and frequency of drug intake should be as per label instructions or doctor’s advice. It is important to understand and comply by the contraindications and warnings mentioned on the label of Excedrin Migraine and all other drugs.
Other ABORTIVE MEDICATIONS sometimes used by doctors are:
- Analgesics: Aspirin, Paracetamol/Acetaminophen
- NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, Diclofenac sodium, Fenoprofen, Ketorolac, Indomethacin, Tolmetin, Celecoxib
- Ergotamines: Dihydroergotamine mesylate, Ergotamine tartrate
- Corticosteroids: Methylprednisolone, decsamethasone
- Opiods: Morphine, Codeine, Oxycodone
- Combination: Analgesics containing barbiturates, analgesics containing opiods/narcotics
- Triptans: sumatriptan succinate, Elitriptan hydrobromide, Almotriptan malate, Frovatriptan, Naratriptan
SECONDARY PROPHYLACTIC DRUGS (those that would keep the symptoms from getting worse) could also be recommended by the doctor to manage migraines. Examples are:
- Anti-depresants: Phenelzine, Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline
- Beta Blockers: Propanolol, Atenolol, Verapamil
- Anti convulsants: Topiramate, Divalproex sodium
- MAO inhibiters: Phenezine sulfate
- Calcium channel blockers: Flunarazine (4)
- Image by Michal Marcol; Freedigitalphotos.net. April 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=371
- How Can We Manage The Common Symptoms At Home; Migraines For The Informed Woman (Book); April 2012; http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174
- Migraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding For Migraineurs (M.A.G.N.U.M); Treatment and Management- Current Treatment Methods – General Pain Management; http://www.migraines.org/treatment/treatctm.htm; 2006
- MedicineNet.com; Migraine Headache; Dennis Lee, MD, Harley I. Kornblum, MD, PhD; http://www.medicinenet.com/migraine_headache/page6.htm; 2010
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