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What Is a Migraine Without Aura?

How Are Migraines Without Aura Treated?

If there are underlying causes for your headaches, your doctor will recommend treatment appropriate to the cause. If the headaches are determined to be migraines without aura, treatment involves two goals:

  1. to relieve symptoms
  2. to help prevent future attacks

How Are Symptoms of Migraine Without Aura Relieved?

Your doctor may recommend these actions to help relieve migraine symptoms:

  • Stay in a quiet, dark room.
  • Place cold compresses or use pressure on the painful areas.
  • Take pain-relieving medications such as aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Tylenol #3 (Tylenol with codeine).
  • Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (called NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or Toradol (ketorolac) to ease pain.
  • Take prescription drugs, such as Imitrex and Maxalt, which help constrict or tighten blood vessels.
  • Take prescription analgesics to relieve pain and encourage sleep.
  • Use medications to treat related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

How Can Migraines Without Aura Be Prevented?

Your doctor may suggest ways to help prevent additional migraines. These steps include taking certain medications, avoiding any triggers that cause migraines, and more.

Medications to prevent migraines. Certain drugs developed for other purposes have been used successfully to prevent migraines. These include:

  • beta-blockers such as Tenormin (atenolol), Inderal (propranolol), and Blocadren (timolol)
  • antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline) and Pamelor (nortriptyline)
  • ergot derivatives such as Sansert (methysergide)
  • antihistamines such as Periactin (cyproheptadine)
  • anticonvulsants such as Depakene and Depakote (valproic acid)

Cefaly. Cefaly is the first FDA-approved device for preventing migraines in people over age 18. The portable headband-like device gives electrical impulses on the skin at the forehead. This stimulates a nerve associated with migraine headaches. Cefaly is used once a day for 20 minutes, and when it's on you'll feel a tingling or massaging sensation.  

Keeping a headache diary. Keeping a headache diary will help you identify anything that might trigger migraines. Diary entries should include the date and time of the headache, any foods you ate, activities you participated in, and medication you took just before the headache began. It may take six to eight weeks or longer to begin to see patterns and triggers.

Avoiding common food triggers. Use information from your diary and trial and error to determine if any of these foods might be causing your migraines.

  • chocolate
  • cheese
  • red wine or other alcohol
  • citrus fruits
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • raisins
  • plums
  • artificial sweeteners
  • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • ice cream or other cold foods

Avoiding medication triggers. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can trigger migraines. Check with your doctor if you think any of these may lead to your headaches.

  • cimetidine
  • estrogen
  • hydralazine
  • nifedipine
  • nitroglycerin
  • ranitidine
  • reserpine

Relieving psychological triggers. Stress, depression, anxiety, and even strong feelings such as grief from losing someone you love can trigger migraines. Although you can’t control all these factors, you can learn to control your response. Relaxation, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis techniques can be effective in relieving and preventing migraines, especially in children.

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