A migraine is a severe and disabling headache that leads many people to look for migraine relief. A migraine can last for hours or even days. Sufferers are incapacitated by the excruciating pain. It can affect up to 17% of women and 6% of men according to Dr. Andrew Weil.
How to Find Migraine Relief
Management of migraines involves combining conventional techniques. There are many drugs that have been prescribed to treat or prevent migraines. Basically the drugs are divided into two categories. The first category includes drugs used to treat a migraine in progress and the second is used to reduce the severity and frequency of occurrence.
Drugs that are used to treat the pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Triptans, a newer class of prescription drugs is widely used and very effective if taken at the beginning of an attack. They are associated with side effects, which mean your physician will need to evaluate the potential benefits with the potential side effects. Ergotamine were used before triptans. They are less expensive and have fewer side effects but also dont work as well.
Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, anti-hypertensives can reduce the frequency of migraines as well as the severity and length. Antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs like Depakote, Neurontin and Topamax can also prevent migraines.
Also avoid things that can trigger a migraine. Many migraine sufferers have food sensitivity. This means that certain foods can trigger attacks. Foods that have been implicated include aged cheeses, processed meats like pepperoni or hot dogs, peanuts, bread and crackers with strong-flavored cheeses, broad beans, peas, lentils, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, fermented foods like soy sauce and miso, certain fishes like sardines, anchovies and pickled herring and red wine. Certain fruits like avocados, bananas, citrus, figs, raisins, red plums and raspberries. Food additives like nitrates and nitrites, yellow food coloring and monosodium glutamate in processed foods have also been names as possible causes.
Migraines in women may be influenced by hormonal fluctuations. Pregnancy tends to prevent migraines. Birth control pills can cause them. Other factors include stress and heredity. Other triggers may include fatigue, lack of sleep, too much sleep, missing meals, changes in barometric pressure, strong smells like with paint, gasoline or heavy perfumes, flashing lights and changes in altitude.
Natural and Synthetic Supplements
There are certain natural supplements that can be taken as a preventative. One is Butterbur (Petasites hybridus). You should not take the crude herb because that has toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Instead look for extracts with 7.5 mg of petasin and isopetasin. Another herb to try is Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Look for a standardized product containing at least 0.2% parthenolides. Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin have also been taken.
You should always consult your physician before starting to take a new drug or supplement or before starting a new treatment plan. Also keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for a treatment to start to work. So, if you are trying a new technique for migraine relief, give it about a month before you give up on it.