Migraines are the worst. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are the 3rd most prevalent and the 6th most disabling illness in the world. They also estimate that as many as 39 million men, women, and children in the US suffer from migraines. If you are one of these individuals, one thing you probably want to know is how to get rid of a migraine. Since there is not a one-size-fits all solution for getting rid of migraines, there are a few things you will need to know about migraines in order to determine the best solution for you.
What is a migraine?
First and foremost, it is essential to know what a migraine is. Migraines are a neurological condition that causes debilitating headaches. They differ from headaches in a couple of ways. First, headaches are a symptom of another problem, while a migraine is the problem. Second, headaches only occur as headaches, while migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Pulsing/throbbing head pain
- Pain concentrated in one area
- Nausea and/or vomiting
What causes a migraine?
Research is still being performed to understand more about what causes migraines, however some evidence suggests genetics and environmental factors can contribute to the occurrence of migraines. In fact, there are a few migraine triggers to be aware of, including:
- Foods like aged cheeses or salty foods, as well as those containing aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Drinks like alcohol and coffee
- Hormonal changes, such as those associated with menstrual periods, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Medications like vasodilators and hormonal medications
- Physical exertion
- Sensory stimuli like bright light, loud sounds, and strong smells
- Skipping meals
- Sleep changes like not enough sleep, too much sleep, or jet lag
- Weather changes or changes in barometric pressure
How to Get Rid of a Migraine:
Although there is no cure for migraines, there are ways to manage them so they occur less often and are less severe. The best way to determine an ideal treatment method is to visit a neurologist who can provide you with information about ideal treatments for your particular case. In the meantime, potential ways to get rid of a migraine include:
- Applying lavender or peppermint oil to your temples
- Add magnesium to your diet
- Work on stress management
- Avoid the migraine triggers listed above
- Lie down in a quiet, dark place
- Place a cold pack on your forehead for 15 minutes
- Self-massage for your temples or scalp
- Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques
Seek Professional Help:
Ultimately, the best way to work on managing your migraine symptoms is to see an experienced neurologist. Depending on your individual cause, your neurologist may recommend daily prescription medications to prevent migraines, prescriptions to take at the start of a migraine to minimize the symptoms, and even medication to help with nausea. Additionally, they may also recommend additional treatments or methods to help decrease the prevalence of your migraines.
Dr. Kashouty, a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), practices general neurology with fellowship trained specialization in clinical neurophysiology. Dr. Kashouty finds the form and function of the nerves and muscles the most interesting part of neurology, which is what led him to specialize in neurophysiology with more emphasis on neuromuscular conditions. He treats all neurological diseases, but his main focus is to treat and manage headaches, movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases.