Migraines: Fast Facts

  • The most common kind of migraine is migraine without aura.
  • Many foods have been linked to migraines, including chocolate, red wine, cheeses, processed meats and foods with the preservative MSG. Caffeine and alcohol have also been implicated.
  • The many other possible triggers of migraines include noise, light, hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, stress and intensive physical activity.
  • There is no known cure for migraines, but they can be treated.
  • Treatments include medications such as painkillers, blood pressure drugs (antihypertensives), seizure medications (anticonvulsants), antidepressants, antihistamines, sedatives and drugs used primarily to fight headaches, such as triptans. Some medications are used to prevent or halt an attack, others to ease the pain of an attack.
  • Other treatments include biofeedback, cold therapy (e.g., an ice pack), cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management, relaxation exercises and self-hypnosis.
  • Research shows that injections of the anti-wrinkle treatment Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) might hold promise for treatment of migraines and several other disorders. Some preliminary data indicates some improvement with headaches with occipital nerve injection, especially if headaches are starting from the back of the head or neck.
  • Methods that can help prevent migraines include finding and avoiding triggers, exercising regularly, following a healthful diet, maintaining a regular sleep pattern and practicing relaxation techniques.

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