Having a headache is no fun. Having a migraine is even worse. But with the right precautions, you can prevent them from taking hold of your life.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is never truer than in the case of treating a migraine. It takes time for medication to work, so once a migraine headache starts, you've already lost time. For people who have experienced the debilitating effects of a migraine headache, you know that a migraine robs you of more than time; it robs you of big chunks of your life.
It takes a combination of options to keep migraines at bay. Here are just a few methods that doctors are using today to stop migraines before they take over:
Preventative medication – These medications are used to treat the symptoms of migraines. They can be prescribed for anyone but are usually prescribed for those who have not been helped by treatment drugs, have adverse reactions to treatment drugs, or who have frequent and severe occurrences. Examples of the type of drugs used include: Depakote (divalproex), Topamax (topiramate) and Inderal (propanolol). These are beta blockers, anti-depressant drugs, and anti-seizure medications.
Regulating estrogen – For women who experience migraines before or after their menstrual cycle, controlling the levels of estrogen may help to prevent migraines from occurring. This can be done in the form of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills. There is a delicate balance that can best be maintained when monitored by your doctor.
Behavioral treatments – All preventative measures don't have to be medicinal. Biofeedback techniques and cognitive behavior therapy are both used in an effort to prevent migraines from happening. Both therapies teach patients to recognize stressful situations in their life and to learn to deal with them proactively to prevent increased muscle tension and vascular changes that result in a stressed condition.
Investigational medications – These are not new drugs; rather they are drugs that have been approved for other conditions but have shown promise in preventing migraine headaches as well. They include ACE inhibitors, muscle relaxants, nasal sprays and powders, and nerve stimulation devices. These medications are shown to have helpful side effects; those being side effects which help a condition that is unrelated to the original intent of the medication. It's a lucky find for migraine sufferers.
Relaxation therapy – Relaxation training is also used to help control your response at the first sign of a migraine. You can learn to reduce the tension in your head using visualization and breathing instruction. This type of therapy has helped many to reduce the duration and intensity of migraine headaches. Deep breathing techniques as well as some yoga positions have been shown to reduce the onslaught of a migraine episode when done at first symptom.
Sometimes, taking medication to treat a migraine after it has taken hold is less effective than using preventative measures before a migraine begins. Making prevention a part of your routine may help keep migraines at bay. Talk to your doctor to see if any of these methods will work for you.