Neuroscience

Prescription Medications for Migraine Relief

New therapies to treat headache go back to the beginning of the last century when ergotamine tartrate was first isolated in a laboratory. It was this development which introduced clinical practice into treating migraines. Ergotamine works by constricting blood vessels in the head. About twenty-five years later researchers began to suspect that disturbances in the brain’s serotonin level played a role in migraine. The drug, methysergide, a serotonin antagonist that prevents migraine attacks, was introduced into clinical practice in 1958. In recent years, new technologies have made it possible for researchers to identify serotonin receptors throughout the body. It is now believed that serotonin levels actually decrease at the onset of a migraine attack, causing blood vessels to dilate and surrounding tissues to swell. This is that brings on the pain.

MSG and Migraines

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) should always be considered a prime suspect when on the lookout for a food-related migraine trigger. With many studies claiming that a majority of migraines are triggered by food or food additives, it’s almost a given that MSG should be on your lookout list.

What is Monosodium Glutamate? MSG is a neurotoxin, a toxic substance used to fool the brain into telling your tastes buds that the food you’re eating tastes better than it really does. Known as a flavor enhancement agent, the end result is that the food industry can use substandard ingredients and then kick up the taste a notch by adding MSG.

Migraines and Stress

When it comes to choosing the all-time champion of migraine triggers, it all boils down to two contenders and all the others are mere pretenders. Much research has been done into the various triggers of migraine and basically the verdicts have come down squarely into two camps. Many researchers have decided that food and food additives are the main culprit behind triggering migraines. On the other hand, many researchers are adamant that the primary trigger for migraines is stress.

The wisdom concerning eliminating the stress in our lives is hardly relegated to migraine relief. Stress seems to be blamed for just about every ailment experienced in the modern world. The simple, inescapable fact of life is that stress is now and is probably always going to be a daily part of our lives that can never be eliminated. Even the mere reduction of stress levels is difficult. The management of all aspects of life from family to career to raising children to school all offer some kind of stress.

The Most Common Stresses That Trigger Migraines.

Multiple-Role Stress: Females especially must contend with multiple-role stress, the juggling of many responsibilities such as wife, worker and mother.

Migraine Headaches and Pregnancy

No one is exempt from migraines and women are especially prone so it’s just a matter of averages to expect that migraines will affect pregnancies. Women should naturally be concerned about taking medications during pregnancy, whether over the counter or prescription, and since most people turn automatically to medication to treat the severe headaches caused by migraines, it’s doubly important to be aware of the consequences of taking migraine medication during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, the plain fact of the matter is that the effects of most headache medications on pregnant women and their unborn children still remains in the dark. Because of this uncertainty, women who suffer from migraines really need —when possible, of course— to work their migraine relief into their pregnancy plan right from the beginning, even before conception. Most experts in migraine prevention and relief strongly advise a slow tapering off medication prior to attempting to conceive. A slow tapering off means about a week, by the way, not several months.

Migraines and Exercise

There are so many good reasons to begin an exercise program that you really don’t even need one more. Nevertheless, you are about to read one more: Exercise can help in the treatment of migraines. Studies have found overwhelming evidence to support the idea that just moderate aerobic exercise helps to reduce not only the intensity, but also the frequency and even the duration of migraine headaches in those who experience migraines without aura.

Migraine headaches come in two varieties. Most sufferers experience severe headaches along with nausea and a heightened sensitivity to both light and sound. When the headache is accompanied by bizarre visual disturbances or unusual head sensations this is known as migraine headache with aura. Aura usually occurs before any actual head pain in a migraine episode. Most migraine suffers, however, do not experience these extreme sensations and instead experience what is known as migraine without aura.

Alternative Migraine Treatments

Lets face facts, sometimes medicine doesnt work. Sometimes the top alternative treatments dont work. Sometimes crazy things that you never in a million years thought would work, work!

Mention the word migraine or the word headache in a room with more than two people and you are almost guaranteed of receiving free advice. Theres an almost limitless amount of possible treatments that you may or may not want to try. Most are harmless enough that it really wouldnt hurt to go ahead and give it a shot. So next time youve got a real brain popping migraine and nothing works maybe you should see if one of these will do the trick. It may just turn out to be the magic pill youve been looking for all your life.

Massage Therapy for Migraines

Massage therapy has proven quite helpful in relieving headache pain. In general, you don’t want to rely solely upon massage as the method for relief from your madness, but instead use it in conjunction with other therapies as well as medication and changes in your lifestyle.

How can massage help with migraines? Migraine sufferers generally suffer from stiff, tender muscles in the back of the head, neck, and shoulders. The pressure against these points in the muscle can be the cause of severe pain, pain that is akin to migraine pain. These pressure points are known as trigger points.

By massaging the trigger points, one can effectively reduce the pain and tightness in the muscles, which decreases discomfort in some sufferers. Massage therapy is a terrific method for reducing tension in the muscles, not to mention for reducing stress. When beginning a massage program it is best to begin with one or two sessions a week for about a month and a half.

Fragrance Triggers for Migraines

Of all the potential triggers for migraines, perhaps the most difficult to control are the ones involving aromas. Fragrant products are, in fact, frequent triggers for headaches, especially migraines. Unfortunately, it seems almost impossible to escape perfumes, colognes and any other of the million products that are enhanced with fragrances nowadays. Further making the situation worse is the fact that fragrances are encountered ever more increasingly in the workplace, as well other places where escape is akin to making your away off Alcatraz. Fragrances have by now made their way into practically every industry and business on the planet. They are used in just about every cleaning, laundry, and personal-care product known to man, so think you just have to escape women wearing too much perfume or men doused in cologne.