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Is My Headache a Migraine?
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
Screening and Diagnosis for Migraines
Treatment Options for Migraines
What is The Treatment for Moderate or Severe Migraines?
Alternative Ways for Treating Migraines
How Can You Prevent or Avoid Migraines?
What Are Migraine Triggers?
Prophylactic Medications to Reduce or Avoid Migraines
Types of Migraines
Cryotherapy:  Ice Relief for Migraine Headaches
An Optical Migraine FAQ
Migraines and Pregnancy
The Art of Massaging Migraine Headaches
Migraine Headaches and the Weather
Menstrual Migraines
Migraines and the Smoking Connection
Well-Known Migraine Triggers
The Migraine-Aspartame Connection
Stress & the Migraine Sufferer
Sexually-Triggered Migraines
Eye Problems & Migraines
Fragrance Migraine Triggers
Treating Menstrual Migraines
Migraine Treatment:  A Natural Approach

Alternative Ways for Treating Migraines

Elsewhere on this website, we discuss the most common medications used to treat migraine headaches. Let's now examine some others that are used. Although potentially addicting, narcotics and medicines containing butalbital are sometimes used for those with migraines.  Because of the potential for addiction, they are normally not used for an initial treatment.  However, they are occasionally used with patients whose condition fails to respond to the traditional OTC medicines  and yet who are not good candidates for triptans, either because of pregnancy or risk of stroke and heart attack.

Patients who suffer from severe nausea sometimes are recommended a treatment that combines a triptan with an anti-nausea medication. One such anti-nausea medicine is prochlorperazine, or possibly metoclopramide.  If the nausea is serious enough to make oral medication impractical, DHE-45, prochlorperazine or valproate might be given intravenously.

In patients with severe nausea, a combination of a triptan and an anti-nausea medication, for example, prochlorperazine (Compazine) or metoclopramide (Reglan) may be used. When nausea is severe enough that oral medications are impractical, intravenous medications such as DHE-45 (dihydroergotamine), prochlorperazine (Compazine), and valproate (Depacon) are useful.

Of course, the best way of treating a migraine is to prevent it in the first place.  Two primary methods of preventing migraines are used.  One is by avoiding the triggers that cause them, and another is by using preventative medications (prophylactic medicines).  Neither strategy is known to 100 percent effective. However, by practicing prevantative methods, a person can reduce the frequency of the headaches.
If the first strategy, avoiding triggers, is used, one first has to understand what a trigger is.  Simply put, a trigger is a factor which causes a migraine headache in a person prone to develop them. Unfortunately, only the minority of migraine sufferers are able to clearly identify their triggers.  Some triggers might include sleep disturbances, stress, fasting, bright / flickering lights, hormones, odors, alcohol, cigarette smoke, aged cheeses, chocolate, nitrites, monosodium glutamate, aspartame, and caffeine.  In some women, a decline in their blood level of estrogen while in the onset of menstruation can be a trigger.  

Some people have reported that chocolate is a trigger for migraine headaches, however scientific evidence has not yet clearly shown a link between consuming alcohol and headaches.  Red wine is a food product that has been linked with migraines, yet strangely, no such link has been established with white wine.  And finally, monosodium glutamate is said to cause headaches in some people, as well s facial flushing and sweating when consumed on an empty stomach in sufficiently high doses.

The time period between a trigger and the onset of a migraine can be anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.  Furthermore, exposure to the trigger doesn't always bring on a headache.  To complicate matters even more, avoiding the triggers does not always hold off the migraine headache. Still, by understanding and avoiding the triggers, one can often--though not always--lower the frequency of migraine headaches.  Speak with a doctor and he might be able to help you more clearly identify your specific triggers.

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