What Is the Best Thing to Do for a Migraine?

Reviewed on 8/13/2020

How are migraines diagnosed?

Migraines are diagnosed based on your symptoms, type and location of headache, and headache frequency and triggers.
Migraines are diagnosed based on your symptoms, type and location of headache, and headache frequency and triggers.

To make the diagnosis of migraine, your doctor will take your complete medical history. They will ask you about:

Your doctor may ask you for tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or electric encephalography (EEG), to rule out any other causes of headache (e.g., stroke or epilepsy)

How do you tell the difference between a migraine and a headache?

According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders 3 (ICHD) criteria for migraine without aura, you must have had at least five headache attacks fulfilling the following criteria:

Headache attacks lasting four to 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated)

The headache has at least two of the following characteristics:

  • Unilateral location
  • Pulsating quality
  • Moderate or severe pain intensity
  • Aggravation by or causing you to avoid routine physical activity (for example, walking or climbing stairs)
  • In addition, during the headache, at least one of the following characteristics:
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Photophobia (light intolerance) and/or phonophobia (noise intolerance)

Are there any migraine treatments?

There is no permanent cure for migraine headaches. However, with treatment, you can

  • Prevent the attacks
  • Get relief from the symptoms
  • Decrease the severity and frequency of the attacks

These treatments include:

If other treatments do not work and you have four or more migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest medicines to prevent them or reduce their severity. These include 

If you feel the aura of migraine or that a migraine attack is about to start, you can place a device known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), another migraine treatment option, on the back of your head. It sends waves of magnetic energy to part of your brain, which may stop or reduce pain.


16 Surprising Headache Triggers and Tips for Pain Relief See Slideshow

What is the best thing to do for a migraine?

If you get migraines, you can ease the pain immediately by simple measures that include:

  • Resting with your eyes closed in a dark, quiet room
  • Putting an ice pack on your forehead
  • Hydrating yourself by drinking plenty of liquids

You can talk with your doctor and try complementary or alternative treatments along with other medications. These include:

How can you prevent migraine?

Try these steps to prevent symptoms:

  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Manage stress
  • Eat on a regular schedule
  • Drink lots of fluid
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Get regular moderate exercise
  • Use devices (Cefaly and gammaCore) that prevent migraine

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