Migraine -- Adult
- Occurring with an aura (formerly called "classic")
- Occurring without an aura (formerly called "common")
- Environmental triggers (eg, odors, bright lights)
- Dietary triggers (eg, alcohol)
- Certain medications
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Physiologic changes (eg, menstruation, 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
- Nausea, diarrhea
- 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
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Speech disturbances
- Cognitive dysfunction
A headache (usually on one side but may involve both sides) that often feels:
- Moderate or severe intensity
- Throbbing or pulsating
- More severe with bright light, loud sound, or movement
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Trouble concentrating
- Sore muscles
- Mood changes
- Computed tomography (CT) scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- Blood tests
|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 migraines and what helps relieve them.
- Learn stress management and relaxation techniques.
- Consider talking with a counselor. They can help you learn new coping skills and relaxation techniques.
- Exercise regularly .
- If you are a smoker, 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:
- Butterbur extract
- Medications that lower blood pressure
- 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
- Beans (eg, lima, navy, pinto, and others)
- 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
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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 October 25, 2010.
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: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 04/01/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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