Health Tips Tuesday: managing migraines

Western Mass News is getting answers on what to do when experiencing a migraine.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:32 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) -- The American Migraine Foundation estimates that nearly 39 million Americans are living with migraines.

Dr. Oyinkansola Ogundipe, a primary care physician at Trinity Health Of New England, discusses ways to treat and prevent migraines.

What is the best way to treat a migraine, and are there any new treatments?

Dr. Ogundipie: “Yes, so there are several ways to treat a migraine. One of the things you can do before taking any medication stays in a cold, dark room, that’s one of the first things that we recommend. But if you want to take medications that are over the counter, I recommend acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Again, with the ensued you have to make sure you don’t have a history of kidney disease because that could worsen it. In terms of other things, your doctor could prescribe you atropine. Which are generally the best medication for migraines that don’t go away with use? In terms of new treatments, there are new treatments called iv infusion, but it needs your doctor’s approval. So, you put it through your veins, and you can get that four times a year. Which could help prevent you from having migraines. So there are several new treatments and several medications that if you’re having several migraines a year, or even a month your doctor could recommend putting you on medication to prevent migraines. So, there are things you bring up, but again over the counter, and staying in a cold dark room.

At what point would symptoms be so bad that you would encourage someone to seek medical attention?

Dr. Ogundipe: “The things that we think about when we think about red flags in headaches are neurological deficits. So, if you are unable to speak or move part of your body, if your face is numb and you can’t feel your face, or if there is some paralysis of your face. Those are some things we call neurological symptoms. Those are reasons why you should go to the hospital. We want to make sure you are not having a stroke because a stroke would present more issues. If you have a headache, then followed up with a seizure, and you don’t have a history of seizures you need to see a doctor right away. Another concern is having a headache with a fever, but you don’t have a cold or neck stiffness. That could be another sign to visit the doctor. Finally, if you are older than 50 and have a new headache, the worst headache of your life, then that is a concern and you need to seek medical attention.

What is the best way to prevent a migraine?

Dr. Ogundipe: “Lots of rest we recommend getting a good sleep at night because poor sleep is one of the triggers. So, lots of rest, and if there are any ways to decrease your emotional stress meaning you’re in a highly stressful job, or your life is stressful. You could have a higher chance of getting a migraine. So decreasing stress, drinking lots of water, staying hydrated, and that meals so if you are fasting or not having breakfast can trigger headaches. Not having a balance, but those are some ways to help prevent migraine headaches.”