Migraine headaches affect 26 million Americans. Almost half of those Americans experience moderate to severe pain that causes them to lose time from work.
Migraine headaches occur most often in women and the majority of migraine sufferers are between the ages of twenty to fifty years old.
Many women will experience migraine headaches caused from estrogen fluctuations near the time of their menstrual cycle. Some of these same women will find their migraines decrease after menopause.
There are some ways that you can significantly reduce your chances of triggering a migraine headache. There are also techniques you can use to relieve some of the symptoms should a migraine occur.
Your migraine headache management can be divided into two classifications: abortive and preventive. We will look at some ideas for both areas.
Abortive treatments are used to the moment you feel a migraine headaches coming on. The earlier you start the treatment the more success you will have. 60% of all migraine sufferers may feel symptoms hours before the headache begins. They are often the same symptoms which will occur before a migraine sets in. 20% of migraine sufferers experience auras 15-30 minutes before a headache occures.
Some people may not notice this prodrome phase and will need to take steps once the headache begins to occur.
There are two main prescriptions used to abort a migraine attack once it begins. These are Ergotamine which can be taken as a pill, injection, suppository or nasal spray. It can cause additional nausea so is often prescribed with an antinausea prescription. There is also a new group of drugs called tripans ( this includes Rizatriptan, Sumatriptan, Naratriptan and Zalmitriptan)
The act as recptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin and can help to relieve both nausea and migraine pain. They can have some serious side affects, so you will have to work closely with your doctor.
If the above medications are not an option for you or if you feel that the pain is not severe enough to warrant prescriptions, you may be able to relieve the symptoms by rubbing peppermint oil into your temples. It is best to use pure essential oil and a carrier oil such as light olive oil, sesame oil or apricot kernel oil. Some sufferers have also found relief with rosemary oil or a combination of the peppermint and rosemary oil. Lavender oil may also be an option because it can help you to relax.
Preventive treatments may include medications such as antidepressents, anti seizure medications, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers to lower your chances in receiving a migraine attack.
Prescription medications are widely know for their diverse side affects which can include depression, impotence, fatigue, dry mouth, insomnia, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and cold hands and feet.
In an effort to reduce their symptoms without experiencing side affects, many migraine sufferers are turning to alternative methods.
There are many techniques that may be used such as aromatherapy (peppermint, rosemary and lavender essential oils) , ayvuredic medicine, massage and accupuncture, just to name a few.
There has been alot of research focusing on the herb feverfew. It is believed by researchers in England that this herb keeps certain brain chemicals from dilating blood vessels which are one of the causes of migraine headaches. Clinical studies have shown that after four months treatment of feverfew many migraine sufferers experienced less visual disturbances and few vomiting epsiodes.
This has led many researchers and doctors to believe that Feverfew may be helpful in long-term management. It is important to note that Feverfew will not help if taken sporadically.
Another treatment which has been in the spotlight recently (February issue of the journal Neurology)is Vitamin B2. Researchers in Germany discovered that migraine sufferers who took 400mg Vitamin B2 daily experienced one third fewer migraines than those who did not.
There are many different treatments on the market for migraines. It may take awhile to find one that works for you but it may pay off in the end. It is a good idea to speak with your doctor first before trying a new treatment.