Currently there is no cure. However, there are three groups of migraine treatment and your doctor can tell you which is best for you:
- Acute treatments (for example, pain medications and anti-sickness tablets) are taken during a migraine attack to help relieve headaches and other symptoms associated with your migraine.
- Preventive treatments are taken regularly, even when you aren’t experiencing a migraine attack, to help stop them before they even start.
- Alternative or complementary therapies, which are non-medication approaches for preventing migraine such as acupuncture or dietary therapy.
Taking medication during an attack can be effective in controlling symptoms, but it is not a suitable solution for all migraine sufferers. For some people, stopping migraine attacks before they start is the key to regaining control, particularly those who experience frequent or persistent migraine symptoms.
If you are living with migraine, you’ll be all too aware of how painful and debilitating it can be, so reducing the frequency, intensity and/or duration of your migraine attacks can mean less time missing out and more time living life to its fullest.
By discussing the frequency and severity of your migraines with your doctor along with how it affects your life, the two of you can determine if preventative therapy is right for you. Your doctor will ask you questions like the ones in our preventative therapy quiz that you can find in our tools & resources section
Preventive treatments can sometimes take as many as four to six weeks before you experience their full benefit. If you have questions on the combined use of acute and preventive treatment, you should always ask your doctor about how to manage your migraine.
It can be terribly frustrating to feel like your prescribed medication is not working for you. If this is the case, it is vital you don’t just give up and instead discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Remember that finding the right treatment, at the right dose, can take time. Bear in mind that there are different types of preventive medication and they have different ways of working. Migraine is very individual, if one medication is not working for you, another may be effective. Your doctor may suggest changing your preventive medication if one or more of the following applies to you:
- It isn’t providing you with the symptom relief you need
- You are experiencing side effects from treatment
- You have developed a condition that may affect the way the treatment works on your body
- You need to take drugs for another condition that may interfere with it
- You are finding it difficult to keep up with the dosing schedule
Keeping a migraine diary can help you and your doctor see how well your treatment is working. You can find it in our tools &resources section.
Yes. Changes in the weather are a common trigger of migraines. Heat, humidity, barometric pressure changes, smog and poor air quality have all been shown to be potential triggers of migraines.
Migraine attacks are often brought on by exposure to certain triggers.
Common triggers include stress, irregular schedules, weather changes, some food and beverages.
Potential Triggers of Migraine:
- Acute stress (accident, mourning, divorce, marriage and etc.)
- Chronic stress (marital, profession, disease-related and financial)
- Drop in stress levels – like when you wind down on the weekend, on a vacation or after completing a stressful activity.
- Sleep and irregular routine
- Lack of sleep
- Sleeping in, sleeping longer than usual
- Jet lag and travel
- Working variable shifts
- New baby
- Skipping a meal
- Caffeinated beverages
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Alcohol – especially wine
- Monosodium glutamate
- Aged cheeses
- Processed meats
- Strong lights
- Loud noises
- Odours (fragrances, gasoline and detergents)
- Heat, humidity, changes in barometric pressure and chinook
- Smog and poor air quality
- Menstrual period
- First trimester of pregnancy
- Contraceptives (very variable)
- Physical activity
- Intense exercise
- Sexual activity
Tracking your triggers with a migraine diary can make it easier for your doctor to review your condition.