You probably already use one or more of the many migraine treatments out there. They can work well. But they don’t always.
If you still find it hard to stop or prevent your headaches, you’ll want to know what else you can try.
Cefaly is an electrical stimulation device. The FDA says it's effective and has few risks and side effects when used properly. It may help people who have problems with drug side effects.
You wear it like a headband across your forehead.
You can use it every day, but not more than once a day:
- Apply the self-adhesive electrode to your forehead.
- Connect the headband to the electrode. This starts the flow of electricity to a nerve linked to migraines.
- You may feel a massaging or tingling sensation.
- Wear it for 20 minutes. It shuts off automatically.
Other devices may be available. Ask your doctor.
CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is a molecule involved in causing migraine pain. CGRP inhibitors are a new class of drugs that block the effects of CGRP. Erenumab (Aimovig) was the first medicine specifically approved to prevent migraine attacks. In 2018, fremanezumab (Ajovy) was also aproved. With each, you give yourself an injection once a month with a pen-like device.
Your doctor might recommend this if you have chronic migraines.
About every 12 weeks, you get 31 Botox shots around your head and neck. Each session takes 10-15 minutes. After your first session, it may take 10-14 days for your symptoms to improve.
SPG (sphenopalatine ganglion) nerve block. This short, simple procedure numbs the SPG, a group of nerve cells inside and behind your nose. The FDA has approved three devices for doing this.
It works because your SPG is linked to your trigeminal nerve, which is involved in these headaches.
You get the procedure in your doctor’s office. You’ll be awake for it.
Your doctor will insert a thin plastic tube, called a catheter, into your nose, one nostril at a time. Through an attached syringe, you’ll get an anesthetic to numb your SPG and the area around it. Your doctor may use an X-ray machine to be sure the tube is inserted correctly.
Once the numbness wears off, you may still feel relief for some time.
Several types of counseling can help.
In acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), you accept that you have some migraine pain instead of trying to control it completely or avoid it.
You commit to “grow away” from a focus on migraines to discover goals and values you want more of in your life. And then you take action toward those goals.
Mindfulness-based therapy. “Mindfulness” is a practice of being aware of your mind and body right now. Distracting thoughts come up, but you let them go.
You may find that this helps you manage your migraine pain without being derailed by it. You might also feel less anxious or depressed about it.
You simply notice your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations.
You’ll still need your medicine and other treatments. Mindfulness is an additional practice you can do by yourself.