Treating Migraines

A migraine headache can be painful and debilitating. If you suffer from frequent migraines that interfere with your quality of life, a variety of migraine treatment options are available that can help alleviate symptoms or even prevent headaches.

Migraine Treatment: Pharmaceutical Options

Treating migraines with medication can be highly effective. Migraine medications fit into two basic categories:

  • Pain relief medications that treat the painful symptoms of a migraine headache. Pain relievers include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, triptans and opiates.
  • Preventive drugs that reduce migraine severity and frequency. Preventive drugs include anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs and some medications designed to treat cardiovascular problems.

Migraine Treatment: Non-Pharmaceutical Alternatives

Some migraine sufferers find relief in alternatives to traditional medication, such as acupuncture. Massage may help to reduce the pain of a migraine for some. Some herbs, like feverfew and butterbur, may prevent migraines or ease their severity.

Ask your doctor about these remedies to see if any of them might work for you. You shouldn’t take feverfew or butterbur if you’re pregnant.

Treating Migraines with Natural and Behavioral Remedies

Some behavioral methods like meditation, yoga and muscle relaxation exercises may reduce the severity of migraines or help prevent them entirely. Though you should get plenty of sleep, avoid oversleeping if you’re prone to migraines. If you think your migraines are related to your sleeping patterns, talk to your doctor.

When you feel a migraine coming on, retire to a dark quiet room. Place a cloth-wrapped icepack on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp.

Your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and identify the forms of migraine treatment and prevention that work best for you.


Heering, J. (2011). Recognizing your migraine trigger will save you a migraine attack. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from

Mayo Clinic. (2011.) Migraine basics. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from