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Treating Migraine Headaches

From the National Headache Foundation

Migraine can be effectively managed. With the help of a health care professional, patients can identify and alleviate their symptoms with an appropriate treatment regimen. Medications generally fall into two categories:

  • Preventive - Taken on a daily basis, preventive medications can help reduce the number of attacks in patients who experience more than two migraines per month.
  • Abortive - Abortive therapy treats the symptoms of migraine after the attack begins. Many medications available to treat an acute attack must be taken as soon as the attack occurs, otherwise they may be less effective.

Non-drug treatments can be effective, especially when used in conjunction with medication. Strategies include relaxation techniques, proper sleep and diet habits, exercise, and avoidance of behaviors or situations that may trigger an attack. Biofeedback has also been used successfully, as have acupuncture, massage, and simple heat and cold applications.

Call Your Doctor If Your Headache:
  • is sudden and severe
  • occurs with fever, stiff neck, or uncontrollable vomiting
  • causes confusion or loss of consciousness
  • is persistent, when previously you’ve been headache free
  • is accompanied by numbness, weakness, or vision loss
  • requires medication more than two days per week
  • interferes with your ability to function normally at work or in social situations
  • begins after head injury or other trauma
  • begins after the age of fifty years
Last updated March 9, 2009




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