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5 Ways to Treat Migraine Headaches

4/3/2018 4:45:00 PM

A migraine headache is thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity involving nerve pathways and chemicals, which in turn affects blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues.


For the 15 percent of the population who suffer from migraines, the symptoms can be debilitating. These headaches present with strong throbbing pain that is felt usually only on one side of the head, together with signs such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound.

A migraine headache is thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity involving nerve pathways and chemicals, which in turn affects blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues.


1. Over the Counter Medicines

Treating migraines at soon as symptoms arise increases the chances of resolving the attack. Mild attacks can be treated by:

  • Pain relievers These drugs include, Aspirin, Paracetamol and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen.  Paracetamol also comes in a combination with caffeine which can enhance its effect. Similarly, combination products, like MAXIGESIC that contain both ibuprofen and paracetamol have been shown to more effective pain relief than either drugs alone.
  • Anti-nausea medications — If you have nausea and vomiting with a migraine, an anti-nausea medicine such as prochlorperazine is available if you speak to your pharmacist. There is also a combination metoclopramide and paracetamol medicine that may be a suitable alternative that your pharmacist could recommend.



2. Cold Therapy

Applying a cold pack to your forehead or neck may help resolve pain associated with migraine. Using cold therapy is thought to help with blood flow and swelling and may help also help numb the pain. One study showed 50% of patients benefiting from cold therapy. A gel cold pack from the freezer applied for around 30 minutes, or cold gel sheets specific for migraines are best used together with pain relief. 


  1. Vitamins Can help Prevent Attacks

B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (co-methyl cobalamin) and Folic acid have all shown to be beneficial in migraine prevention. B vitamins are thought to be involved in brain chemicals important in migraine. Hence supplementation with a multi B complex  is known to decrease headache frequency and severity.

Coenzyme Q10 is anothersupplement that has shown benefits in reducing the frequency of attacks at doses of 100mg to 300mg per day.

The herb Feverfew, is an ancient remedy that has been used to treat pain and fever. It is thought to work by relaxing smooth muscle. It is available as supplement on its own as well as in migraine prevention combination like Blackmores REME-D.  However it should be avoided during pregnancy.


3. Avoiding Migraine Triggers

Knowing what causes a migraine and avoiding these triggers can be helpful in decreasing the number of attacks. As these factors are specific for everyone, keeping a log of information of what happened before an attack can help identify possible causes.

Common migraine triggers include fatigue, sleep disturbances, tension and stress, bright lights, flickering screens, food (such as cheese, chocolate, wine), hormones, dehydration, strong smells, changes in climate, & medications.

 4. Alternative Therapies

  • Acupuncture. A procedure where a therapist inserts thin needles into certain defined points in your skin, has shown potential in decreasing migraine occurrence. There is evidence which indicates that acupuncture works by releasing endorphins, brain chemicals that relieve stress and pain, in the brain.
  • Massage. Regular massage can help, relax muscles & decrease tension and stress which may be beneficial if these are migraine triggers.
  • Botox. (botulinum toxin type A) causes paralysis of muscles and is injected into muscles of the head and neck. It is available on the PBS for people who have chronic migraines have tried a few prescription preventative treatments that have failed and is required to be administered by a neurologist. Studies show that it can relieve headache pain for about three months.

Chemsave: Because There's Nothing More Important Than Your Health

At Chemsave, we see ourselves as more than just a pharmaceutical retailer that specialises in health, vitamins, beauty, personal, and other prescription products. We're a true partner in your own health and well-being in every sense of the word. If you require advice in managing headaches and migraines  contact Chemsave today.