Migraine headaches can last for hours, making it difficult to work or do other things you need to do. If you have them, you're in good company. According to Medscape.com, between 10 and 20% of the population suffers from migraines. Fortunately, there are over-the-counter products that offer relief. When you need fast pain relief, a migraine medication that combines aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine may be appropriate.
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Aspirin helps to reduce inflammation while acetaminophen has analgesic activity that targets pain. Caffeine helps to constrict blood vessels in the brain that may be dilated during a migraine attack. Discuss your migraines with your doctor and ask for advice on which products are appropriate and safe for you. You can find medications containing these three ingredients in regular and extra-strength formulations made specifically for migraine relief.
Natural Approaches to Easing Migraine Pain
Homeopathic formulations are also available. They offer a natural, drug-free approach that can potentially alleviate a throbbing migraine although more research is needed in this area. Another drug-free approach to migraine pain is cooling patches you apply to your head or neck. These patches contain ingredients like menthol that have the potential to lessen migraine pain. A study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice showed topical menthol is a safe and effective way to ease the discomfort of migraine headaches. Another ingredient in some topical headache patches is lavender, a plant-based ingredient that is believed by some naturopaths to have analgesic effects and that may help to alleviate spasms and anxiety.
Some natural migraine formulations contain magnesium in a spray-on form that your body can absorb. Some studies show up to half of all people with migraine headaches have low levels of magnesium. That's why some doctors suggest that migraine patients supplement with magnesium. Magnesium helps blood vessels in the brain relax and regulates brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that may play a role in migraines. However studies also show that prescription medications are often more effective for those who suffer from migraines more than 3 times a month. Consult with your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement to make sure it is right for you.
A migraine headache can make sleeping or relaxing an impossible task. An eye pillow pain relief mask may help. This mask covers your eyes and delivers cooling action to help ease headache pain. Simply freeze it before using it. You'll also find other uses for this easy-to-apply cooling mask. It helps to ease eye swelling due to allergies and soothe tired, strained eyes. Another option that may help is soft gel sheets you apply directly to the area that hurts. These drug-free sheets deliver cooling action to painful areas and require no refrigeration or freezing beforehand. Carry some with you when you travel – just in case a migraine strikes.
Whether you choose over-the-counter products containing acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine - which are also effective for pain and fever relief - or take a more natural approach to migraine pain, there are a number of options available. Talk to your doctor before taking medications for your migraines. If you're taking a blood thinner, have liver or kidney disease, high blood pressure or heart disease, oral migraine medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine may not be appropriate for you. Your doctor can help you decide which treatments are right for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.