Migraines affect 39 million people in the U.S. and 1 billion people worldwide, making it the third most prevalent illness in the world.
“A migraine is characterized by attacks of moderate to a severe pulsing head pain that typically occurs on one side of the head and is accompanied by a variety of symptoms including nausea (and sometimes vomiting) and sensitivity to light and/or sound,” says Dr. Elizabeth Seng, NYC head pain expert and clinical health psychologist. “It’s unclear what exactly causes migraines, but it usually involves a change in the brain’s electrical activity that activates neurons responsible for pain,” says Dr. Lauren Middleton, a neurologist at Centura Health.
So what’s the best way to treat a migraine? Here are some ways to deal:
Take over-the-counter meds
“You can make a migraine feel better with over-the-counter medication like Excedrin,” says Seng. “Just try not to use it more than three times a week, or you could get rebound headaches,” adds Middleton. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also effective over-the-counter medications. Talk to your doctor about what kind of medication is right for you.
Apply temperature to your head
“In addition to medications, you can try putting ice packs or heating pads on your head to ease the pain,” says Middleton. Be sure to wrap your pack in a towel before placing it on your head!
Take your vitamins
To prevent migraines in the long-term, Middleton recommends taking daily vitamins like magnesium 400 and riboflavin (vitamin B2) 400 supplements. Adequate magnesium and riboflavin consumption helps calm nerves, which is what often causes migraines.
Practice basic self-care
Take care of yourself from the inside out! “General good habits — stress reduction, sleeping at least seven hours a night, and eating at least three meals a day — can also help curb migraines,” says Seng.
Talk to your doctor
“A chronic migraine is one that occurs 15 days or more each month for over three months,” says Seng. But even if it occurs less than this, migraines can be debilitating. If you get a migraine once a week or more, talk to your doctor about medications and other preventative measures.
xx, The FabFitFun Team