Sometimes Migraine can become difficult to manage. It’s easy to feel discouraged and hopeless. Whether your Migraines are infrequent and well-managed or daily and intractable, stick to the basics. They are the foundation of good Migraine management.
1. Track your Migraine attacks.
Keep a log or diary that tracks frequency, severity, duration, results of acute medication use, and potential triggers. By maintaining a Migraine diary, you can spot changes in your Migraine pattern. These results help you and your doctor determine if or when to change your treatment plan.
2. Treat attacks early.
Treating a Migraine attack at the first sign of aura or pain has been shown to increase the odds of fast, complete relief. The longer we wait, the more difficult it is stop an attack in progress. If you find that you need to treat more than two or three attacks per week, please talk to your Migraine specialist about starting or changing your preventive treatment. Taking medicine to abort a Migraine attack more often can lead to medication overuse headache, which results in more frequent attacks that respond poorly to treatment.
3. Use plenty of comfort items.
One you’ve taken your abortive, go ahead and reach for that ice pack or other comfort items to help you stay relaxed and control the pain until the Migraine attack passes. There’s no need to struggle with unpleasant symptoms if something as simple as turning off the lights can bring a measure of relief.
4. Keep trying new preventives.
If the first (or 10th) medication doesn’t work, don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that there are no other options, either. With over 200 possible preventives, and more being developed every year, there is always something else to try. Keep an open mind about trying older medicines in new ways or combining multiple preventives for better results.
5. Never lose hope.
No matter how bad your Migraines are today, there is always hope. Advances in neuroscience are producing new acute and preventive treatments. Many of the newer options don’t even require you to take a pill every day. Relief won’t come overnight. With a little hope and determination, it is possible to lose fewer days to Migraine.
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Reviewed by David Watson, M.D. © Tammy Rome, 2017.
Headache disorders advocate and patient expert, blogger, and mental health therapist, Tammy Rome maintains a private practice specializing in behavioral pain management, as well as writing for her own blog, Brain Storm. She also volunteers as vice chair of the American Headache and Migraine Association and as president of The Cluster Headache Support Group. You can read more of Tammy’s work on her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.