Treating Migraines

Here it comes again, that odd sensation in your eyes. You’re feeling a bit off-and your vision is a bit iffy. It feels like you’re looking through a pane of wavy glass, and that’s making you feel a bit sick to your stomach and even a bit dizzy. It’s an aura and that means you’re going to have a migraine soon. Your aura is like an early warning system, letting you know the storm is on the way.

How do you take care of a migraine that is debilitating visually as well as physically? Some people simply take to their beds, pillows over their heads to block out the light and don’t move all day. This helps, but not much. Your migraine has still taken an entire day-and sometimes more-from you and from your family. There are better treatments available to you.

For a migraine treatment to be effective, a patient must identify likely triggers, avoid those triggers and be proactive in using treatments like relaxation or medications prescribed by their physician.

There are over the counter drugs that treat migraine pain, inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. These are helpful, but there is a newer class of migraine agents called triptans. Normally migraine medications simply help to mask the pain and help individuals get through it, but triptans help to manage the source of the pain by reducing the swelling of blood vessels in the brain. This reduces the inflammation and thus the pain.

The downside of triptans is that a patient suffering an ocular migraine cannot use them due to the constricting affect they have on blood vessels. This may cause problems in the retinal vessels which could result in the tragic loss of vision.

For now the best way to treat ocular migraines is to find what triggers the migraine in the first place, whether it’s a food, stress or some other trigger and avoid it. Reduce the stress in your life; maintain a schedule and get enough sleep for your needs and this should help to lessen the number of migraines an individual suffers.

Your doctor will have other ideas for you, but remember that you are your own best advocate. Keep a journal of your migraines-what you were doing and what you ate before it hit. Once you know the triggers you can take the steps avoid them.

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