Here's How You Really Should Be Treating Migraines

If you frequently suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. But figuring out how to treat them doesn't need to be another pain in the head; while there are all kinds of myths and pseudoscience remedies out there on the internet (like daith piercings, which haven't actually been proven to be effective), there are some tried and true treatments.

The first option is, of course, trying what you already have at home. The Mayo Clinic suggests that over-the-counter medications can provide migraine relief, and that's a good place to start. Unfortunately, these aren't going to cut it for many, and the Mayo Clinic also notes that patients should take them with caution; if people become too reliant on them, or take them more often than they should, overuse can come with its own health concerns, like ulcers or additional headaches. If over-the-counter meds just aren't doing it for you, you might need to speak with a healthcare professional.

A doctor can help you find the right prescription to treat your migraines

The Mayo Clinic also recommends asking your primary doctor about triptans, like Imitrex or Maxalt, to see if those might work for you. If you're not a big fan of pills, they can also be administered as shots or nasal sprays. Another option might be dihydroergotamines or lasmiditan. If your issue is less the migraine itself and more the nausea that accompanies it, anti-nausea medications like Reglan or Compro can also help alleviate your symptoms.

Your doctor will also be able to talk to you about other alternatives, like treating your migraines with Botox injections. The cosmetic treatment isn't just for smoothing out wrinkles these days, and the American Migraine Foundation reported that it was approved for chronic migraine treatment over a decade ago. If you struggle with more than 15 migraines per month, this might be the right fit for you. "The more frequent the headaches, the better the patient does with Botox," says Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld, Director, The Headache Center of Southern California.

Botox for migraines is a more long-term treatment

While the injection works by targeting pain fibers and nerve endings, Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld told the American Migraine Foundation that it might take a few rounds of the injections or Botox to take effect. He says patients might only truly begin to feel relief after their second or third treatment cycle, but each injection can be effective for 10-12 weeks. The outlet reported that migraine sufferers might see their episodes reduced by half, however, which can be a lifesaver for chronic sufferers.

In the meantime, preventative measures might help you close the gap between when you start seeking treatment for your migraines and when that treatment takes effect. The Mayo Clinic advises that reducing stress in your life, staying hydrated, and sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to eating and sleeping can help ward off episodes before they begin. Identifying migraine triggers in your own life can also help you stop health issues before they start, and a combination of lifestyle changes and medical intervention will soon have you on track to feeling better.