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Migraine treatment has changed over the years, reflecting advances in technology that help us understand how the brain and nervous system work.
Researchers now believe that migraine involves nerve pathways and brain chemicals. There is a strong genetic component, and environmental factors play an important role, too. As a result, it’s a complicated disease to treat.
We still don’t fully understand what’s happening when you have a migraine attack. For effective treatments to be developed, we need a complete and accurate grasp of the underlying processes. This is why migraine research is critical for real progress in migraine treatment.
Migraine sufferers can hope to achieve better management and control by proper diagnosis and treatment. But even with the correct diagnosis, treating migraine can be frustrating. Several hundred medications, devices, and surgical treatments are used to treat and prevent migraine attacks and symptoms. Only a few have been developed specifically for migraine. Most are prescribed off label, as they’ve been developed and FDA approved for another purpose. Choosing one or a combination that might work is often a time-consuming process of trial and error that requires expert help from doctors specializing in the treatment of migraine. Consult your headache specialist to discuss a personalized treatment plan.
There are three main approaches to migraine treatment: acute, preventive, and complementary.
Acute treatment is a therapy used to stop an attack when it begins.
Preventive treatment is a therapy used to reduce the number of attacks, lessen the intensity of pain, and prevent the onset of future attacks.
Complementary treatment is a non-drug therapy used mostly for prevention. In some sufferers, life-style changes and other complementary treatments can prevent the triggering of attacks.
There are many reasons why people try not to use drugs to treat their migraines: Some people have trouble tolerating them, want to avoid their side effects, are allergic to them, can’t remember to take them on schedule, are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or they have some underlying medical condition that might worsen. Maybe the drugs they’ve tried don’t work. Sometimes sufferers want to explore alternatives to see if they can get relief without taking medication. Non-drug treatments are mostly free or low cost and can also be used to enhance the effect of drug treatments.
Learn about non-drug treatments, which include lifestyle advice, various therapies, and exercise.
The information provided here should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or evaluation of any medical condition. The Migraine Research Foundation has made every effort to ensure that the information is accurate; however, we cannot warranty its reliability, completeness, or timeliness. © Migraine Research Foundation.