Friday, 5 September 2014

Non-Drug Treatments for Migraines

What Is a Migraine?
Migraine is a type of headache that is often localized in a certain area of the head
 and is sometimes accompanied by a pronounced sensitivity to light and sound. Other common migraine symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Migraines are usually gradual in onset, progressively more painful and then undergo a gradual resolution. When migraines are mild to moderate, they are usually described as being dull, deep and steady. When severe, migraines are throbbing or pulsating.Some migraines are worsened by head motion, sneezing, straining or physical exertion. Since many patients also become sensitive to light and sound, some migraine sufferers will lie down in a darkened and quiet room to relieve symptoms.More common in women than in men, migraine is a chronic condition, and migraine headaches may occur infrequently or as often as several times a week. Although migraines can begin at any time, the most common time is in the early morning. While migraines can begin during sleep, this is uncommon and must be evaluated to rule out other conditions.The onset of migraine usually occurs between the ages of 5 and 35. It is treatable but not curable, and it is not considered a life-threatening condition, though rarely a severe migraine may cause a stroke. However, if the headaches are severe and frequent, migraine can have a debilitating impact on a person’s life.

Are There Non-Drug Treatments for Migraine?
Doctors recommend behavioural measures both to prevent and treat migraines: one 
is to stay away from avoidable triggers, such as alcohol or certain foods.
Behavioural treatments can also help prevent stress-related migraine. These treatments include:

  • Relaxation training: including thermal and electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback techniques that help patients develop a degree of voluntary control over their blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, brain waves and body temperature.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (stress management)
  • Regular exercise: such as swimming or walking, which can reduce stress and the frequency and severity of migraines.