Migraine -- Adult
- Occurring with an aura—formerly called a classic migraine
- Occurring without an aura—formerly called a common migraine
- Environmental triggers, such as odors and bright lights
- Dietary triggers, such as alcohol
- Certain medications
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Physiologic changes, such as menstruation and puberty
- Weather changes
- Family history of migraines
- Presence of patent foramen ovale—a congenital heart defect
- Changes in mood, behavior, and/or activity level
- Food craving or decreased appetite
- Sensitivity to light
- Flashing lights, spots, or zig zag lines
- Temporary, partial loss of vision
- Speech difficulties
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Numbness or tingling in the face and hands
- Speech disturbances
A headache (usually on one side but may involve both sides) that often feels:
- Moderate or severe in intensity
- Throbbing or pulsating
- More severe with bright light, loud sound, or movement
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble concentrating
- Sore muscles
- Mood changes
|CT Scan of the Head|
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- Prevent headaches
- Reduce headache severity and frequency
- Restore your ability to function
- Improve quality of life
- Quiet nerve pathways
- Reduce inflammation
- Bind receptors for serotonin, a brain chemical
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- Medications for nausea
- Combination medication that contains caffeine
- Calcium channel blockers
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARBs)
Self-Care During the Migraine
- Apply cold compresses to painful areas of your head.
- Lie in a dark, quiet room.
- Try to fall asleep.
- Keep a diary. It will help identify what triggers your migraines and what helps relieve them.
- Learn stress management and relaxation techniques.
- Consider talking with a counselo to learn new coping skills and relaxation techniques.
- Exercise regularly .
- If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about ways to quit . Smoking may worsen a migraine.
- Avoid foods that trigger migraines.
- Eat regular meals.
- Maintain your regular sleep pattern even during the weekend or on vacation.
- Avoiding those things that trigger the headache
Following your doctor's recommendations—The doctor may consider using medications to prevent headaches such as:
- Medications that lower blood pressure
- Butterbur extract
- Maintain regular sleep patterns.
- Learn stress management techniques.
- Do not skip meals.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Exercise regularly. Consider yoga as one type of activity.
- Ask your doctor if acupuncture is right for you. It may help you to have more headache-free days, as well as lessen the intensity of headaches when they do occur.
Mind-body therapies such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Guided imagery—may improve pain coping
- Massage therapy
- Nuts and peanut butter
- Aged or cured meats
- Aged cheese
- Processed or canned meat
- Caffeine—intake or withdrawal
- Canned soup
- Buttermilk or sour cream
- Meat tenderizer
- Brewer's yeast
- Red plums
- Snow peas
- Soy sauce
- Anything with MSG (monosodium glutamate), tyramine, or nitrates
American Headache Society http://www.americanheadachesociety.org
The National Migraine Association http://www.migraines.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Gilmore B, Michael M. Treatment of acute migraine headache. Am Fam Physician. 2011:83(3):271-280.
Migraine in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Migraine prophylaxis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 9, 2015. Accessed January 15, 2015.
NINDS migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/migraine/migraine.htm. Updated September 26, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Recognizing stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=symp. Accessed January 15, 2015.
12/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jena S, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with headache. Cephalalgia. 2008;28:969-979.
2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White A. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;CD001218.
11/10/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Guyuron B, Reed D, Kriegler JS, Davis J, Pashmini N, Amini S. A placebo-controlled surgical trial of the treatment of migraine headaches. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009;124(2):461-468.
10/25/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves Botox to treat chronic migraine. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm229782.htm. Published October 15, 2010. Accessed January 15, 2015.
3/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Chankrachang S, Arayawichanont A, Poungvarin N, et al. Prophylactic botulinum type A toxin complex (Dysport) for migraine without aura. Headache. 2011;51(1):52-63.
9/25/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Herman A. Episodic migraine linked to obesity. NEJM Journal Watch. 2013 Sept 12.
1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Huquet A, McGrath PJ, et al. Efficacy of psychological treatment for headaches: an overview of systematic reviews and analysis of potential modifiers of treatment efficacy. Clin J Pain. 2014;30(4):353-369.
1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Diener HC. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation: a new way to treat migraine attacks with aura. Lancet Neurol. 2010;9(4):335-7.
4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Lip PZ, Lip GY. Patent foramen ovale and migraine attacks: A systematic review. Am J Med. [Epub 2013 Dec].
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 04/01/2014 -