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While treatments for migraine headaches are individually tailored for each person, there are common elements to each. Lifestyle changes, medications, and alternative treatments can all be considered. For example, knowing and avoiding your triggers and reducing stress can help decrease the severity or frequency of migraines. Medications used to treat them can range from NSAIDs to aspirin to propranolol. Alternative remedies include acupuncture, feverfew, and massage.

How Are Migraines Treated?

There is no "one size fits all" treatment plan for migraines. Many different treatments or combinations of treatments for migraines are available, based on their frequency, severity, and the level of disability they are causing. Some people with mild, infrequent migraine headaches may do fine with over-the-counter medications. Other people may need more powerful medicines to treat moderate-to-severe attacks. Finally, others may have migraines so frequently that preventative treatment is recommended.
In general, your healthcare provider may recommend one or several different treatment options, including:
Before making a recommendation, your healthcare provider will consider your particular situation, including other medical conditions you may have, previous medicines that you have tried, and your individual needs. You and your healthcare provider can work together to develop a migraine treatment plan that works for you.

Lifestyle Changes as Part of Migraine Treatment

Following are some lifestyle changes that you can make to decrease the frequency or severity of migraines:
  • Understanding your migraine triggers
  • Reducing stress
  • Making other lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Know Your Triggers
The first lifestyle change often recommended by healthcare providers is to find out possible triggers for your migraines. These may be physical, emotional, or environmental factors. Some common triggers include:
  • Stress
  • Hormone changes (in women)
  • Weather changes
  • Bright lights.
In many cases, a combination of triggers may cause a migraine.
The next step is to try to avoid or limit these triggers as much as you can.
(Click Migraine Triggers and Migraine Food Triggers for more detailed information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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