Dealing with a Migraine

by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 5, 2008)

It's morning. Showered, dressed, full of breakfast and out the door, you begin your day. As the morning slips into afternoon, you notice that you're becoming unusually irritable and tired. You're thirsty, drowsy, and are craving something sweet. Just before dinner, while watching TV, you become slightly lightheaded, see a few sparkling flashes of light in your vision, and develop a slight headache. Twenty minutes later, you abruptly excuse yourself from the table, holding your pounding head in your shaking hands, and get sick in the bathroom.

You're experiencing the headache of all headaches—a migraine.

While there are many forms of migraine headaches, the two most common are classic and common. The main difference between the two is onset of headache with an aura; dazzling zigzag lines, sparkling lights, and colorful flashes of fireworks in your field of vision. Classic migraines begin with pain and an aura. With common migraines, the sufferer develops a pounding headache, usually on one side of the head, spreading sometimes to the eye and jaw areas.

Health professionals agree that there may be certain circumstances that trigger migraines. Some of those triggers could be:

  • Infrequent eating and fasting
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Loud noises, unusual odors, or bright lights
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food triggers such as nuts, strong cheese, processed meats, artificial sweeteners, and citrus foods

While in the throes of a migraine, it doesn't matter to you which kind of migraine you have, or what triggers it. What matters is getting fast relief. If you've had a migraine episode before, you know what precedes it, so you know what to expect. If you know a migraine is coming, following these tips may help ease the pain and shorten the length of the headache:

  • Use an over-the-counter medicine such as Excedrin Migraine, Extra Strength Tylenol, or Aleve.
  • Lie down in a quiet, dark room.
  • Apply a cold washcloth to your head.
  • Drink a soda containing caffeine, or a cup of strong caffeinated coffee.
  • Use relaxing massage techniques and gently massage your head, neck, face, and shoulders.
  • If your doctor has prescribed drug therapy, take the recommended dosage at the onset of your migraine.

Determining what triggers your migraines, and avoiding those triggers, can lessen their frequency. If you know a migraine is developing, take immediate action to stop the migraine or shorten the duration of it. If you have continued and frequent migraines, see your doctor for more ways to manage your migraines.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Caring for Simple Cuts

There are a just few mandatory rules to follow when caring for simple cuts. And although most people know first aid for minor ...

Discover More

Removing Dirt and Mud from Clothing

The number one rule when trying to clean mud or dirt from fabric is to allow it to dry before attempting to clean the ...

Discover More

Long and Natural Nails

Whether you use nail polish or go for a completely natural look, growing long, natural nails should fit in with your ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

Getting Rid of Butalbital Headaches

Anyone who takes barbiturates such as butalbital to relieve severe headaches should be informed about the possibility of ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Tension Headaches

Caused mostly by stress, you cannot cure tension headaches with medication. Keep a headache journal and discuss with your ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are caused by swelling within the sinus cavities, and not by allergies. Discuss with your doctor the possible ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)