When you get a migraine, you just want some relief. Although different types of medications are available, no single treatment may work for everyone. Your doctor will carry out many tests to create a unique treatment plan based on your symptoms, healthy history and how often your migraine occurs. Mostly, the treatment consists of a combination of some lifestyle changes and medications.
Even if you feel your treatment plan is solid, you still need to keep an eye on how well it’s working for you. If you notice any of the following signs, your treatment may not be right fit for you. These signs mean it’s again time to talk to your doctor for creating a different plan to handle your migraines.
You’re still having Frequent Migraines
If you’re on some preventive treatment, you should get fewer migraine attacks. Over time, this approach should reduce your dependence for rescue or abortive medications.
You’ll have to switch to a new preventive medication if:
You haven’t seen any reduction in number of migraine episodes after four months.
Even after taking the preventive treatment as prescribed, you’re still getting migraines on regular basis.
A stronger does may sometimes help if you’re relying heavily on abortive medications.
You’re taking your abortive medications more than thrice a week.
You aren’t getting Relief Fast Enough
As soon as a migraine hits, you would want a fast relief without any delay. Your right abortive medication should show results within a short time, especially if you’ve taken it early.
According to American Headache Society, effective migraine treatment is one that provides complete relief within two to three hours. You should be back to normal activity within this time. If you feel no improvement in this time frame even after you’ve taken your medications, the treatment may not be the best fit for you. When you don’t get any relief from migraine, you must resort to other options such as rescue medications. In these circumstances, you’re also risk of taking too much of one kind of medication to minimize your pain.
You take Rescue Medications on Regular Basis
You can evaluate the efficacy of your migraine plan in a much better way if you know its different parts and what they are supposed to do. You plan must include abortive medications, preventive medications, and rescue medications.
Abortive medications are taken only when you feel a migraine attack coming, hopefully as early as possible. You should try to keep these medications with you at all times so that you can use them without any delay, before a full blown migraine occurs. They have been formulated to relieve your migraine symptoms.
These medications can quickly stop migraines before they start. They need to be taken daily to work properly. One can reduce their intake once they start experiencing less number of migraines.
They are taken only when abortive or preventive medications fail to provide you relief. They may be over-the-counter or prescription.
Although many patients keep rescue medications as a backup, they should never be taken regularly. If you are taking them on regular basis, that means your abortive or preventive medications are not working and they should be changed.
Also, reliance on rescue medications may cause unwanted side effects and could be dangerous. This may sometimes lead to rebound headaches, known as MOHs (medication overuse headaches). According to a 2010 report by National Headache Foundation, taking even normal pain relievers for more than 12 days in a month may put you at risk of MOHs. Prescription medications such as opioids, triptans, barbiturates, and ergots should never be used more than 10 days in a month.
You have many Unwanted Side Effects
Like other medications, migraine treatment also comes with many side effects. They can range from constipation to nausea to dizziness. Finding the right dose and perfect medication can minimize those effects so you can take the suggested medication when you need it.
To get best results from any treatment, it is important o take the right does at the right time. If you’re skipping your medication or hesitating in taking it because its side effects are bothering you, the treatment plan isn’t working the way it should. Often a different medication or a different dose can help you avoid all these issues.
Your Migraines are Still Interfering with your Day-to-Day life
A migraine attack can easily bring your life to a screeching halt. Are you forced to skip your social activities, still missing your work regularly, or cannot carry on with your normal daily life because of your migraines?
Finding the best treatment plan means you can now prevent and treat your migraine symptoms quickly and efficiently. This also allows you to continue daily activities with minimal disruptions. Although no migraine plan can guarantee you a completely migraine free life, you will definitely see significant reduction in their frequency and severity. If not, immediately talk to your doctor about your treatment plan and discuss other viable options.
Evaluating your plan
Although there has been massive improvement in migraine treatments over the past few decades, developing the perfect plan may take some time and may require some trial and error. Your doctor would like to prescribe medications that may work for you with minimal side effects. Sometimes first attempt may not solve the problem. For this reason, honest and open communication with your doctor is important when you are interested in finding a good migraine treatment plan.
Your treatment plan should also include some lifestyle changes, such as:
Identification of triggers and learning ways to avoid them
For best results, you must under and follow each part of your plan, including lifestyle changes.
Don’t get discouraged if your migraines don’t go away in the beginning. It may take three to four months or maybe longer to determine if the plan is working for you. You can ask your doctor when you can expect some improvement so you know when to evaluate your plan.
Tracking how well your treatment plan works may be easier for you if you maintain a headache diary. This can be a powerful communication tool for you as well as your doctor when evaluating your current migraine treatment and looking at different options. Make sure your headache diary includes the following information:
- Any migraine triggers you may have encountered
- Date and time of your migraines
- The severity of the pain
- How long the pain lasted after taking the medication
- Exact medication you took for relief
- Kind of relief you got from medication
You should never change or modify medications without discussing your plan with your doctor. But don’t be afraid to discuss other options with them if your treatment plan is not working for you.