9 Science-Backed Ways to Get Rid of a Migraine

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Migraine is a special type of primary headache associated with hypersensitivity of the trigeminal nerve system. Various triggers lead to local expansion of the microvessels of the brain membrane and its irritation by pain mediators. The latter can last for hours, or even days, but does not signal danger.

To get rid of painful sensations , one must act differently than with ordinary pain. However, to begin with, it is important to make sure that it is a migraine.

When to urgently call an ambulance

Headache sometimes indicates a stroke , cerebral hemorrhage, meningitis, and other dangerous conditions. Their symptoms may be:

  • sudden and very severe pain;
  • pain that gets worse over several days, as well as with every sudden movement, coughing, or simply muscle tension;
  • pain that is accompanied by high fever, rash, dizziness, repeated vomiting, double vision, numbness of the neck muscles;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • numbness or weakness in one of the limbs or sides of the face;
  • blurred vision;
  • slurred, severely distorted speech;
  • a strong increase in pressure (more than 180/120 mm Hg. Art.);
  • pain that occurs within 7 days of a head injury
  • pain that changed for the first time in many years or appeared after 50 years.

In such cases, urgent medical attention is required. Only if you are sure that you are dealing with a benign headache, including migraine, you can try to alleviate the condition at home.

How to relieve a migraine headache

Here are the medically approved methods.

1. Take painkillers at the first hint of an upcoming migraine

For mild migraines without nausea and vomiting, over-the-counter ibuprofen, paracetamol, naproxen, or acetylsalicylic acid are primarily recommended . But there is an important nuance: the pill should be taken as early as possible, at the first sign of pain, but at the end of the aura .

In this case, the drug can stop neurological pain at the very start, when it is not yet too strong. If you drink an anesthetic when a migraine attack is already in full swing, the medicine will not work very soon, because at this time intestinal motility is slowed down , and hence the absorption of the drug.

When taking pills, consider a few rules.

  • Strictly follow the instructions and do not exceed the dosage of the product.
  • Consult with a therapist to find an effective and safe medicine. For example, acetylsalicylic acid is not recommended for children under 16 years of age, as well as adults with stomach ulcers or diseases of the liver and kidneys.
  • Do not take painkillers too often: no more than 15 days a month for simple painkillers and caffeine, and no more than 10 days a month for combination drugs, triptans and ergotamine. Otherwise, pills can provoke another type of ailment – headacheassociated with excessive use of drugs.

If over-the-counter remedies don’t help, see your doctor. The doctor will prescribe you more powerful drugs: based on triptans, ergotamine, opioids. Please note that such drugs have serious side effects, so only a qualified physician can select them.

2. Have a snack

Due to the lack of food in the blood , the level of sugar decreases. Sometimes this is what triggers the headache. If it’s not very strong, try eating a cracker, banana, or other high-carb food – there’s a chance it will help stop or ease a migraine attack.

3. Drink some water

Lack of fluid can also trigger a migraine. Therefore, take at least a few sips of water, compote, fruit drink or juice.

4. Drink coffee

Or another drink containing caffeine . This substance can relieve the pain of migraine in the early stages and enhance the analgesic effect of tablets based on paracetamol and acetylsalicylic acid. Like medicines, coffee should be drunk at the beginning of an attack – then the effect will be stronger.

Remember that it is important not to abuse caffeine, because then a headache may appear when you refuse it. And if you drink coffee or tea in the evening, sleep can be spoiled, which is also harmful for migraines.

5. Relax in a quiet dark place

Migraines are often caused by excessive sensitivity to light and sound. To make the attack stop faster, you need to remove these irritants.

Go to your bedroom or other private room, close the door, close the windows with blackout curtains, turn off the lights and try to get some sleep.

6. Apply a cold compress to your forehead

It can be a napkin soaked in cool water or an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth.

Exposure to cold slightly anesthetizes and slightly alleviates the pain.

7. Apply a warm compress to your head or neck

For example, a heating pad or gauze soaked in warm water. These compresses help relieve muscle tension, which can aggravate the headache.

8. Get a light massage

To reduce muscle tension, knead your neck with your fingers, walk with pressure movements on the scalp.

9. Try to relax

This is necessary to calm the overexcited brain. Take a few long deep breaths and exhales, meditate , relax all the muscles as much as possible – perhaps one of these techniques will work and you will feel better.

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