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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

What Is a Migraine Without Aura?

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How Is Migraine Without Aura Diagnosed?

Before determining treatment, your doctor will want to be sure that there are no other causes for your headache. So, it’s likely the doctor will perform physical and perhaps neurologic exams. In addition, your doctor will ask you about your health history, including questions such as these:

  • Do other family members have migraines or other kinds of headaches?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • What is the level of stress in your life?
  • Do you use medications such as birth control pills or vasodilators that could cause headaches?
  • Do you exert yourself physically or notice that headaches start after coughing or sneezing?

Your doctor may also request these tests to be sure that the headache is not caused by other factors:

  • blood tests
  • imaging such as X-ray, CT scan, or MRI
  • tests for infection, bleeding, or other medical problems that could cause similar symptoms

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)

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