You can't cure
migraines, but you can use medicines and other
treatments to feel better.
The goal of
treatment is to reduce how often you get migraines and to stop the headaches
with the fewest drug side effects. Your doctor may have you try several types of
medicines and may adjust the doses to manage your migraines.
About 1 out of 8 Americans has migraines. They usually begin during the teenage years. After puberty, migraines are more likely to affect girls and women.
Experts still aren't sure what causes these headaches. But they seem to involve a wave of unusual activity in brain nerve cells, along with changes in blood flow in the brain.
Though migraines can trigger severe pain in the head, they aren't simply headaches. They often also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
You can reduce how many migraines you have by finding your
triggers and avoiding them. For more information on
headache diary(What is a PDF document?) is a good way to find your triggers. You write down when you
have a headache and how bad it is, along with details such as what you ate and
what you did before the headache started. You look for patterns to your
headaches. This information can help you know what to avoid to prevent a
Medicines to stop a migraine.
These are sometimes called abortive medicines. These may be
over-the-counter or prescription medicines. If you
take the medicine at the first sign that you're about to get a migraine, you
may keep the headache from starting or from getting bad.
Medicines to prevent migraines. These drugs are often called
preventive medicines. You get them with a prescription. You take these every
day or whenever your doctor tells you to.
For mild to moderate migraines, you may first
want to try over-the-counter pain relievers that have fewer side effects and
cost less than other medicines. But if they don't help, you may need
prescription medicines. Be safe with medicines. Read
and follow all instructions on the label.
If medicines to stop a migraine
don't give you enough relief, or if you're taking them more than 2 times a
week, talk to your doctor about whether you should take medicines to prevent a
Try other treatments
want to try
complementary treatments along with medicines. These