Migraine - classic; Headache - migraine with aura
To learn what may be triggering your migraine headaches, keep a headache diary. Write down:
- When your headaches occurred
- How severe they were
- Additional symptoms
- What you've eaten
- Sleep patterns
- Menstrual cycles
- Any other possible factors
For example, the diary may reveal that your headaches tend to occur more often on days when you awaken earlier than usual. Changing your sleep schedule may then result in fewer migraine attacks.
Some birth control pills and other medications may trigger headaches. Your health care provider should address questions regarding their use.
Even in the absence of a clear factor that triggers migraine attacks, try to keep a regular exercise and sleep schedule. Avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol. Some patients have found biofeedback and self-hypnosis to be effective at reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
Although there is no cure for migraine headaches, numerous medications are available. These medications are used to:
- Prevent migraines from occurring
- Stop the migraine once early symptoms develop
- Treat the symptoms of migraine
All medications have potential side effects and may be incompatible with other medications you are taking. Also, many migraine medications are associated with birth defects and are therefore not safe to use during pregnancy.
Often, a health care provider will try several classes of medications before one (or a combination) is found to be effective.
Many medications can reduce the frequency of migraines. Generally, these need to be taken daily in order to be effective. These medications are less useful and tolerable to patients with infrequent headaches. Medications in this category include:
Review Date: 11/21/2006
Reviewed By: Daniel Kantor, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive MS Center, Neuroscience Institute, University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.