Migraine Treatment Options

Migraine Treatment Options

Pain Killers - Opioid Analgesics - Migraine TreatmentMigraine headaches affect millions of people. According to a World Health Report, migraine is the 19th leading cause of disability for both females and males worldwide. Based on statistics, 18% of women and 6% of men suffer migraine headaches. These types of headaches are characterized by throbbing pain, squeezing, aching, nausea, and visual disturbances (aura). Rates of a migraine are higher among whites than blacks, particularly those of lower income status. Find out now how to treat a migraine.




These drugs work rapidly and have few side effects. Triptans are selective serotonin 5-HT agonist, and they are the ideal treatment for a migraine. Options include rizatriptan (RIZ), naratriptan (NAR), zolmitriptan (ZOM), eletriptan (ELE), frovatriptan (FRO), and almotriptan (ALM). Triptans work by inhibiting neurotransmitter release and by stimulation of 5-HT receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system. These drugs have been proven effective in many clinical studies.


Ergots/Ergot Derivatives


Ergotamine and caffeine combination pills play a role in treating migraines. These are used when the patient does not respond to triptans. Ergotamine has a nonselective adherence to dopamine, serotonin, and adrenergic receptors, and it is used for severe migraine attacks. These drugs do cause side effects, such as nausea and dizziness.


Opioid Analgesics


The use of opiates is restricted to people who are unresponsive to triptans and ergotamine. Because of opiate dependence, the drugs are not used often. Tramadol, hydrocodone, and oxycodone are examples of some of these drugs used to treat headaches. Nonoral opioid medications are helpful for people who are vomiting, such as butorphanol nasal spray (Stadol) and fentanyl lozenges.


Alternative Therapies


Researchers have proven that certain alternatives therapies help with migraine pain. In an observational study, researchers found that use of a cooling device was superior in efficacy to oral triptans. Other studies have found that trigger point massage and acupuncture help with migraines. In addition, visual imagery and relaxation techniques were used positively to treat headaches.


Nerve Blocks


Several nerve blocks can be used to treat migraines. The occipital nerve block involves injecting lidocaine or another agent along the back of the scalp. A sphenopalatine nerve block has proven useful for headaches, as well. This involves inserting a catheter through a nostril and instilling a neurolytic agent or blocking agent onto the ganglion nerves at the base of the brain.


Botox Treatments


Botox injections are given every 12 weeks to manage chronic migraine pain. These injections are used on the forehead to paralyze muscle tissue and relieve pain. Recent clinical studies show that Botox injections have a 90% effectiveness rate for reducing or eliminating headaches, and the FDA approved Botox for chronic migraine headaches.


Physical Therapy


Massage and cervical neck strengthening exercises help with occipital migraines. The therapist will work to increase muscle strength and flexibility for the migraine sufferer. Certain physical therapy techniques used for headaches can reduce pain at least temporarily. Ice and relaxation are also used for migraine treatments.


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