Migraine Treatment


Migraines can be a debilitating disorder. The World Health Organization says severe migraine attacks can be as disabling as quadriplegia. Migraine sufferers seek treatment that can prevent migraine attacks, make them less frequent, stop symptoms once they’ve started or at least make the migraine symptoms less severe.

Just like there are different types of migraines, there are different types of migraine treatments. Some of the medications provide migraine pain relief, while different medications attack other migraine symptoms. Other types of migraine medications are designed to be taken on a regular basis in an effort to prevent migraine attacks from occurring.

To help figure out the best type of treatment for your situation, it’s best to start with a migraine journal. Keeping an accurate, complete diary of every migraine attack and all of your symptoms will help your migraine specialist make a correct migraine diagnosis. The record of your pattern of pain will also assist the doctor in determining which treatment might work best for your situation.


The goal of migraine treatment

The U.S. Headache Consortium lists the following goals of long-term migraine treatment:

  • Reduce attack frequency and severity
  • Reduce disability
  • Improve quality of life
  • Prevent headache
  • Avoid headache medication escalation
  • Educate and enable patients to manage their disease

Types of migraine treatments



Abortive Rx medications for acute symptom relief

  1. Triptans
  2. DHE 45
  3. Ergotamine

Preventive – Prophylactic Rx medications

  1. Beta blockers
  2. Calcium channel blockers
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Neuronal stabilizing agents or anticonvulsants


OTC medications for acute symptoms relief

  1. Excedrin for migraine
  2. Advil
  3. Naproxen – Aleve
  4. Aspirin
  5. Motrin
  6. Acetaminophen – Tylenol

Natural Remedies

These products are non-pharmaceutical and include vitamins, minerals, botanicals and other naturally occurring ingredients.

Different Natural Migraine Remedies

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Treatments and healing practices that don’t fall into conventional Western medical system are considered complementary medicine. When those techniques are used in addition to Western medicine, it is alternative. These types of treatments include:

  • Natural remedies, such as herbal treatments, vitamins, minerals and other supplements
  • Mind-body medicine, such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi and hypnotherapy
  • Manipulative and body-based practices, such as chiropractic spinal manipulation and massage therapy

As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician. Some of the treatments listed here are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for managing migraines, but may be approved for treating other ailments and have also been shown to relieve migraine symptoms for some in trials, in studies or in practice. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.