How to Get Rid of a Migraine Headache
A migraine headache can cause sharp pain in the temples and radiating pain throughout your head. It can cause problems with your vision, and can be create sensitivity to sound, light, and movement. For some people, migraine headaches also cause stomach upset, and may result in vomiting. All of these make it difficult to be able to do anything throughout your day, making it important for you to be able to find relief in order to be able to get back about your day.
If you wake up in the morning with a migraine headache, you might think to yourself it is not worth taking the day off from work for the day. However, if your migraines become severe enough that they cause stomach upset, sensitivity to sound and light, you most likely will not be able to make it through the day in a busy office. This is even more likely if your office is in a busy call center, has harsh overhead lighting, or requires you to look at a computer screen for long periods of time. And even worse, you might find yourself getting such a severe headache that you are not able to drive yourself home from work. By pushing yourself too much, you might find the headache lasts significantly longer, and might even continue for multiple days. If you are able to stay home for the day, you stand a better chance of overcoming the headache faster.
At the first sign of a migraine, drink some cool water. If your migraine is a result of your body being dehydrated, drinking some water can help to prevent the migraine from getting worse. If you are prone to getting migraines, the recommended eight cups of water a day may actually not be enough for your body. Try drinking more than this whenever possible. If water is not something you enjoy drinking, you can also consider drinking green or herbal tea. Many of these teas have added nutritional benefits but not as much caffeine as black tea or coffee. When a migraine strikes, an herbal tea with peppermint can actually help to reduce the symptoms of the headache. Another drink many people have forgotten, but that can actually help to relieve the symptoms of a migraine is grape juice. It is full of pain fighting nutrient that can help relieve a headache.
For many people with a migraine, the idea of touch may be the last thing they would think about. However, applying gentle pressure to the scalp and face can help to relieve some of the built up pressure and pain that is causing the headache. If there is some tension in your neck or shoulders causing your headache to be worse, massaging them can also help to reduce pain and pressure. Scalp and facial massage is something a person can easily do by themselves, but can also be done with the help of another person. Pairing massage with the use of some lavender oil can also help to reduce the pain associated with the headache. The scent of lavender has a calming effect and can help your mind and body to relax, relieving pain and tension.
For people with headaches, and especially migraine headaches, a small amount of caffeine is often enough to help relieve the symptoms of a headache. Many over the counter pain relievers for headaches contain about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. But before you go drinking an entire pot, hold off for a moment. Too much caffeine can actually cause the opposite effect. It can dehydrate you, and cause a headache to worsen. It can also disrupt your sleep pattern making it difficult for your body to recover, and a lack of sleep is also known to cause headaches to occur more frequently. One cup of coffee or a cup of hot black tea is all of the caffeine you should need to help find relief.
Often times a severe headache makes it difficult to sleep. However, taking the time to rest when you have a migraine is important. Since many people find they are sensitive to light when they have a migraine, find a dark room to rest in. Look for a room with no windows, or that have curtains that block out the light from the sun. if you do not want to sit in a completely dark room, opt for a softer light from a lamp than a harsh overhead light. If you do not want to sleep, or cannot sleep, the important thing is to allow your body time to rest, to conserve energy, and to help let your mind rest. If you are sensitive to sound, try to find a dark room that has little sound. Turn off the television or radio, and close the door and windows to block out other outside sounds. If you prefer to listen to some soft music, and you are not hypersensitive to sounds, playing some soft instrumental music or soothing music used for meditation can help your mind to relax and bring some relief.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Many people find changes in heat or cold can help to relieve their symptoms of a headache. You can try taking a cold compress, ice bag, or even a bag of frozen vegetables and place them on the back of your head and neck to help relieve a headache. This can help to change the dilation of the blood vessels providing blood flow to your head. Another option is to use heat to relieve tension and pain in your neck and shoulder muscles. A warm compress, a soak in a warm bath, or even a warm shower may be enough to give you some relief from your headache. You can combine a shower or bath with a cup of drops of peppermint and lavender oil in the water, in a dim bathroom and see if you find some relief.
Over the Counter Options
There are a number of over the counter medications that can help relieve some of the pain from a migraine headache. Pain relievers like Tylenol and Motrin often provide some relief. But be careful taking these over the counter medications. Taking too much of them can actually cause a rebound headache after it starts to wear off. Also, taking a single dose of one of these medications with a single cup of coffee or black tea can provide some additional relief as the caffeine helps to enhance the effects of the medication. You will notice a number of medications at the pharmacy are marketed to help with migraines. The primary difference between these medications and the other pain relievers is the addition of caffeine, so there is really no need for you to run out and grab an extra over the counter medication to treat your headache. Another over the counter option is to take a magnesium supplement. This supplement can improve the circulation of blood to the head and bring about relief.
When to See a Doctor
If your headache persists over a couple of days, or continues to worsen despite these interventions, you might benefit from a call to your doctor for an additional medication to help break the headache cycle. After an evaluation, a doctor can provide you with a prescription of a triptan medication. These medications include Imitrex, Relpax, and Maxalt to name a few of them. Many times a doctor can even provide you with an injection of a triptan medication before you ever even leave the office, providing you quicker relief. Additional doses are then available in tablet or injection form for you to take at home if the need arises. However, these medications are not options for many patients with other health conditions, including heart disease, uncontrolled blood pressure, types of diabetes, and severely obese patients.
Prevention is Key
After you find relief from your migraine, it is important to know what triggers your migraines, and find ways to prevent them. Often times a person’s diet plays a big role in their migraines. Certain foods, like nitrates (common in processed meats like lunch meat and hot dogs), chocolate, wine, and MSG are known for being common triggers for migraine headaches. However, there are also a number of food which help to prevent migraines. These foods include nuts, especially almonds, fish, healthy oils like olive oil, and foods rich in potassium and magnesium. Water also plays an important role in preventing migraines in people. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also helps to rid your body of toxins and allows it to efficiently heal itself. People who suffer from migraine headaches need to be even more aware of how much water they drink, and drink more than the recommended eight glasses a day when possible. Lastly, having good sleeping habits can help prevent migraine headaches from occurring. When you sleep, your body is able to heal itself and release stress, which can increase the frequency and intensity of migraines.