Migraines can feel absolutely unbearable, with severe pulsing, throbbing pain. As if that wasn't enough, migraine sufferers also experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light during these painful headaches that can last hours or even days. While causes aren't completely understood, researchers believe that migraines are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The next time you experience a migraine, you're going to want to have this list handy so you can get relief as quickly as possible.
Take over-the-counter pain medications.
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can help relieve pain when you feel the start of a migraine. According to the American Migraine Foundation, these types of pain relievers typically work best when taken early on during the migraine attack. They usually are effective at treating mild to moderate migraines.
Create a soothing environment.
Since lights and sounds can often be especially pain-inducing during a migraine, create a soothing environment for yourself as you recover. Lie down in a dark, quiet room. You may want to use earplugs and a sleep mask to further block out light and noise.
Have a little caffeine.
While some people note that their migraines are triggered by too much caffeine, often a little caffeine can help relieve migraine pain. The reason is that during migraines, blood vessels in the brain expand. Caffeine can help narrow these blood vessels. Try half a cup of caffeinated soda or coffee when you feel a migraine coming on.
Eat a snack and drink water.
Dehydration can result in migraines, as can skipping meals. If you feel that familiar headache coming on, drink a large glass of water and eat something small like some crackers. If you know you're prone to migraines, making sure that you are drinking enough water and eating regularly scheduled meals every day can help with preventing future migraines.
Take your prescription medication.
If your physician has prescribed medication for your migraines, make sure that you take it. Some of these medications are intended for use while you're experiencing a migraine, whereas others are taken regularly to prevent migraines altogether. Some people also get Botox injections to their foreheads every few months to prevent chronic migraines.
Try a neuromodulation device.
Neuromodulation devices work in several different ways to reduce migraine pain. While some require surgical placement, there are others that are non-invasive and FDA-approved. One, the SpringTMS, involves a magnet that produces a split-second pulse being placed at the back of the head. 40% of patients who experienced migraines with an aura noted they stopped with just two pulses. Another, called gammaCore, electrically stimulates the vagus nerve via a device placed on the neck. It's been shown to stop the pain from acute cluster headache attacks.
Keep a migraine diary.
This suggestion won't stop a migraine in the moment, but it can help you prevent future migraines. This technique, recommended by physicians, involves you writing down when your migraines occur, including the time and how long they last. Write down how you slept the night before the migraines, everything you ate and drank that day (including times), your emotions and stress levels. You may start noticing trends and be able to pinpoint migraine triggers and thus avoid them.