Migraine Headache (cont.)
When Should I See a Doctor for a Migraine?
Call a doctor or other health care professional if any of the following occur:
- A change in frequency, severity, or features of the migraine commonly experienced
- A new, progressive headache that lasts for days
- A headache brought on by coughing, sneezing, bearing down, straining while on the toilet, or other physical straining
- Significant unintentional loss of body weight
- Weakness or paralysis that lasts after the headache
Go to a hospital emergency department if any of the following occur:
- Having the worst headache ever, especially if the headache had a sudden onset
- Headache associated with trauma to the head or loss of consciousness
- Fever or stiff neck associated with headache
- Decreased level of consciousness or confusion
- Paralysis of one side of the body
How Can I Tell If I Have a
Migraine or Another Type of Headache?
The diagnosis of migraine headache rests solely on what a patient describes to a doctor
or other medical professional. A doctor's physical examination of the
patient typically reveals nothing out of the ordinary; however, a neurological examination will be performed to rule out other causes of headache.
Other causes include other types of headaches such as tension or cluster headache, stroke, tumor, inflammation of a blood vessel, and infection of the brain's coverings (meningitis) or of the sinuses.
In these cases these tests may be ordered.
6 Migraine Natural Home Remedies for Pain
Most people with this type of headache can manage the pain of mild-to-moderate attacks at home by:
- Using a cold compress on the area of pain
- Resting with pillows comfortably supporting the head or neck
- Resting in a room with little or no sensory stimulation (from light, sound, or odors)
- Withdrawing from stressful surroundings
- Drinking a moderate amount of caffeine
Migraine Headache OTC (Over-the-Counter) Treatment for Pain
Several OTC medications may help with head pain, for example:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): These include
medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen. Stomach ulcers and bleeding are serious potential side effects. This type of
medicine should not be taken by anyone with a history of stomach bleeding. Ask
your doctor or pharmacist about possible medicine interactions if the you
are taking other drugs.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Acetaminophen may be safely taken with NSAIDs for an additive effect. Taking acetaminophen by itself is usually safe, even with a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding. Acetaminophen should not be taken if
you have liver disorders or has three or more alcoholic drinks a day.
Combination medications: Some over-the-counter pain relievers have been approved for use with migraine. These include Excedrin Migraine, which contains acetaminophen and aspirin combined with caffeine. A similar effect can be achieved by taking two aspirin or acetaminophen tablets with a cup of black coffee.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2017
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