May 1, 2017
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Migraine (cont.)

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What remedies and lifestyle changes help manage and decrease the frequency of migraines?

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Individuals who experience migraines can play a significant role in managing their headache frequency and severity.

Keep track of when migraines occur by using a paper or digital headache diary or log to track pain levels, triggers, and symptoms. This can help identify patterns which precede a migraine, as well as help identify factors which contribute to the development of the headache. Once these contributing factors are known, lifestyle modifications can lessen their impact. These modifications may include:

  • Maintain a regular schedule for eating and sleeping
  • Avoid certain foods that might trigger a migraine
  • Keep well hydrated since dehydration has been identified as a migraine trigger for some people
  • Exercise regularly

Relaxation strategies and meditation also have been recognized as effective strategies to prevent migraines and decrease headache severity.

Exercise and migraine

Some people find that exercises that promote muscle relaxation can help manage the pain of migraines. Examples of types of mind-body exercises that can help encourage relaxation are:

  • Meditation
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imagery
  • Yoga

Diet and Migraine

There is no specific diet for people with migraine that helps with symptom relief. However, as mentioned previously, certain foods can be triggers for migraines in susceptible people. These foods include:

  • red wines,
  • aged cheeses,
  • preservatives used in smoked meats (nitrates),
  • monosodium glutamate,
  • artificial sweeteners,
  • chocolate, and
  • dairy products.

Alcoholic beverages can also trigger migraine in some people.

Understanding the particular triggers of your migraines and avoiding these dietary triggers may help some sufferers decrease the frequency of attacks.

How are migraines managed during pregnancy?

Many women find that their headaches stabilize or even resolve during pregnancy. This may be related to more consistent hormone levels that occur during pregnancy. To decrease the risk of birth defects, certain medications used to prevent migraines may need to be discontinued prior to a pregnancy.

There are limited studies of drugs that are used to treat migraines during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is relatively safe when used in recommended doses. If a you are pregnant and are experiencing frequent headaches, there are some treatment alternatives that may be provided by your doctor or other health care professional. Many migraine medications, including the triptans, are not well studied in pregnancy so the potential benefits to the patient need to be weighed against the risks to the fetus before these medications are prescribed.

How are migraines managed in children?

Migraine headaches may occur in children. Treatment is similar to the treatment of migraines in adults, but drug dosages may need to be adjusted because of the smaller size of the patients.

  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often quite effect in controlling acute headaches.
  • For more severe or refractory headaches, some of the triptans have been identified as being beneficial.
  • If headaches occur frequently, daily medication may be warranted for prevention.
  • Diet, regular sleep patterns, routine exercise, and biofeedback, are all potentially beneficial in decreasing the frequency and severity of migraines in children.
  • Identification and avoidance of triggers through the use of a headache diary is a helpful tool.

What is the prognosis for a person with migraines?

Most people who have migraines find that their headaches may be controlled with the preventive medications and lifestyle changes. Those with a diagnosis of migraine need to be aware of how their lifestyle may directly impact the frequency and severity of their headache. Controlling migraine triggers may provide substantial benefit. It has been identified that as patients get older, there may be a decrease in the frequency of this type of headache and they may disappear after a number of years.

Can the frequency of headaches be prevented?

If you are susceptible to migraine headaches you will always have some component of risk, but daily use of medications and avoiding triggers often are effective in preventing migraines.

REFERENCES:

"ICHD-II Classification: Parts 1–3: Primary, Secondary and Other." Cephalalgia 24 (2004): 23-136.

Lewis, D., et al. "Practice Parameter: pharmacological treatment of migraine headache in children and adolescents: report of the American Academy of Neurology Quality Standards Subcommittee and the Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society. Neurology 63.12 (2004): 2215-2224.

Pringsheim, T., et al. "Prophylaxis of migraine headache." Canadian Medical Association Journal 182.7 (2010): E269-E276.

IHS Classification ICHD-3 Beta. "Migraine." 2016.
<https://www.ichd-3.org/1-migraine/>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/13/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/migraine/article.htm

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