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Get help for migraines

A migraine can make it next to impossible to work, manage household responsibilities or do just about anything else. That’s something you may know all too well if you’ve recently started getting these severe headaches.

Here’s what else you should know: Migraines are manageable, and a variety of options are available today to treat them.

Get it checked out

If you haven’t done so yet, your first step should be to see your doctor. They can usually tell if you’re having migraines based on your symptoms. Migraines tend to involve intense bouts of throbbing pain, often on one side of the head. Migraine episodes can last for several hours or even days.

During a migraine attack, many people get an upset stomach. Light, sounds and movement can make a migraine worse. Many people also experience visual disturbances, called auras, prior to getting a migraine. They might see flashing lights or heatwaves.

Medicines for migraines

Some medicines treat migraine attacks when they occur, while others help prevent migraines in the first place.

Preventive medications. You take these medicines—such as erenumab, lasmiditan and ubrogepant—every day to help prevent a migraine.

And while you may know Botox injections as a wrinkle treatment, they can be another option for preventing migraines.

Medicines that stop migraine pain. They’re taken at the first sign of a migraine to keep it from getting worse. Options include triptan drugs and ergotamine.

In addition to prescribing medicines, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes that may help you manage migraines, such as:

  • Keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoiding migraine triggers. Those might be things like certain foods and drinks, stress, loud sounds, and bright lights or smells. Keeping a journal of what you were eating and doing when you got a migraine can help you identify triggers.
  • Losing excess weight, if you’re overweight.
  • Exercising and finding other ways to manage stress.

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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