Migraines are tricky. The pain can go from manageable to unbearable within a minute. Each individual who’s struggling with migraines has a unique experience. Whether you’re struggling with migraines with aura or other types of migraine, one thing is certain - you could use extra help to manage and treat them. That’s why we’d like to discuss the latest treatment for migraine headaches.
New Injections for Migraines
The medical field is rapidly changing. There are new discoveries every day, so it gets hard to keep up with the research. However, it’s essential to be up-to-date, because that could be the key to finding the right relief to manage your pain.
In 2018, the FDA approved medications for migraines, which include erenumab (Aimovig), fremanezumab (Ajovy), and galcanezumab (Emgality). Last year, they also validated the use of medicine ubrogepant (Ubrelvy).
Aimovig, Ajovy, and Emgality are taken by injection with an automatic pen or a needle, while Ubrelvy is available as a pill. These drugs are used to help individuals prevent migraines from occurring or to reduce their intensity. While the medicines are backed by insurance, they can be on the expensive side. You will also need a prescription to purchase the medications.
People react differently to pharmaceutical medicine, so be aware of the common side effects such as nausea, constipation, muscle pain, depression, weight gain, and others. Also, these injections and pills might not be effective for every type of migraine. Just keep all your options open and consider other alternative treatments for migraine headaches.
Things That Help With Migraine Attacks
Migraines are most likely hereditary. Almost 90% of people with migraines have a family member that shares this problem. However, the environmental impact plays a large role in prevalence. Changes in your surroundings and lifestyle can be immensely helpful. Try to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle and cut out everything that triggers your migraine.
Most of the non-traditional migraine treatments are focused on preventing migraines from even occurring. You can start by avoiding negative influences and migraine triggers such as:
- Blue lights. We suggest you stay away from computers and cell phones as much as possible and avoid fluorescent and LED lighting; it is also suggested to use blue light blocking glasses.
- Strong odors from chemicals. Migraine sufferers are more sensitive to odors and strong smells can actually trigger acute migraine attacks.
- Processed food. Nitrites used as preservatives in the food can trigger headaches, so try to avoid eating processed foods such as hot dogs, bacon, burgers, etc.
- Alcohol. Excessive drinking can cause hangover headaches, but even small amounts of alcohol can trigger symptoms. This is due to the diuretic effect that alcohol has on the body, which causes dehydration.
- Snacks. Salty food might trigger migraines, so choose healthier snack options such as fresh or dried fruit, carrots, celery, etc.
Let’s talk more about diet. Migraines don’t like foods that contain nitrates and nitrites, artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). These types of additives function as common triggers and can cause a full-blown migraine attack. Avoiding them should be your goal.
In fact, there aren’t any universal rules to follow that would work for everyone equally. Some people could drink wine and be just fine, while the same could be a major trigger for you. Figure out what ingredients you should avoid by keeping a food journal. Connect your migraine attack symptoms with the food you previously ate, and cut that type of food from your diet completely.
Try this method for a couple of months and slowly make changes. We don’t advise you to quit cold turkey and change your diet in one day. Just keep an eye out for obvious correlations between your migraines and the food you eat.
One of the major things you can do to help prevent migraines is to take a moment for yourself. If you feel the migraine approaching, step away for a second. Turn off lights, play soothing music, or take a warm bath.
Stress might be unavoidable, but it is manageable. The goal is to control it enough to prevent migraine headaches. Look into meditation exercises and deep breathing techniques. They’ll come in handy when you’re starting to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Migraines are more frequent after sleepless nights. It goes both ways - you can’t fall asleep due to a migraine and the lack of sleep can in turn cause the migraines. Also, too much sleep can likewise trigger a migraine. Poor sleep affects every aspect of our lives, so we must actively seek to improve it.
Make a simple sleep schedule and stick to it. The optimal amount of sleep is at least 7-8 hours each night, especially if we have tiring lifestyle habits and spend much of our days on computers. Therefore, if you get up at 6 AM each day, try going to bed before 10:30 PM. Also, strive to be careful of napping for more than 20 minutes throughout the day. If you find that napping stops you from falling asleep at night, it's probably best to avoid naps.
We need to mention the drawbacks of using electronic devices once again. Not only does the blue light trigger migraines, but it can interfere with your natural sleep cycle too. In fact, try to avoid working on your phone or laptop about 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
Physical activity releases chemicals that can ease pain and make you feel good. Naturally, you should exercise regularly but without pushing your boundaries too much. If you work out more than you should, you might experience burnout. This can actually trigger migraines, so be careful when you’re searching for the perfect exercise balance.
Pick an activity you actually enjoy doing. Some people like walking, swimming, or playing group sports more than sweating in the gym for an hour each day. Challenge yourself to find something you enjoy and make sure to stick to it.
Migraine Device Approved by FDA
Some types of migraines are so severe that lifestyle changes are not going to cut it. Fortunately, many scientists and doctors are working daily to improve the lives of people suffering from migraines and provide much-needed help.
Neuromodulation devices can be one possible solution. Neuromodulation occurs when one uses electrical (or chemical) stimulants to temporarily change nerve function. If the patient is responsive to this type of treatment, the migraine attack can be stopped immediately.
Most of these devices, such as Cefaly Headband, the transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS), or gammaCore, are approved by the FDA, but are not covered by health insurance. You would need a medical prescription to order them, the price will vary from $250 to $600 per month.
However, neuromodulation devices like the Migraine Stopper are not that costly and do not require prescriptions. The Migraine Stopper is unique in that it is designed to create air pressure in the ear and stimulate the nerves around the ear in order to ease the migraine.
New Migraine Medications
As you can see, migraines can be quite costly, so it’s no wonder people are always looking for new and better alternatives that help. There’s no such thing as the best treatment for migraine headaches, but there’s something that can work for you specifically.
Most of the time, people use medications to treat symptoms such as pain or nausea. New drugs, however, target the cause of migraines. We already mentioned injections such as fremanezumab (Ajovy) and erenumab (Aimovig) that aim at preventing the cause of migraines.
These drugs block the stimulation of the CGRP receptor and prevent the dilation of the blood vessels. This can ease brain inflammation that’s causing and intensifying migraine headaches. If you get to the root of the problem, you can be a step closer to the solution!
Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure what’s causing your migraine headache. All you can do is investigate, monitor and try different types of medications, devices, and methods until you find something that really helps you.