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Migraine Medications Treat Symptoms; Give Risk-Free Care a Try!

Migraine medications

For many, migraine medications have become lifesavers; they no longer have to spend hours or days at a time in silent rooms with the shades down and the curtains drawn to shut out all light and all sound. They actually receive some level of migraine pain relief and at least they know what to do when classic migraine symptoms appear.

But at what cost do they take these migraine medications? No, not the price per se of the medications, the cost to their bodies in terms of the physical stress (toxins) caused by the medications and mental/emotional stress of paying for them and wondering what damage they might cause as a result of risky side effects.

What if there was a safe, all-natural solution available that didn’t just treat migraine symptoms, a solution that actually looked for the cause of your migraines and corrected it so you never had to take medication again? Would you give it a shot? We’re betting that you would!

Migraine Medications: Non-Prescription, Over-the Counter (OTC) Medications

Migraine sufferers with less severe, occasional migraine symptoms may find migraine relief by taking non-prescription pain relievers, particularly if their symptoms do not interfere with their ability to perform their normal daily activities.

There are two types of OTC medications used in treating migraine headaches:

  • Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – includes ibuprofen (Advil®, Nuprin®, Motrin IB®, and Medipren®) and naproxen (Aleve®). These medications relieve migraine pain because of their anti-inflammatory properties and they have fewer severe side effects than prescription NSAIDs. Some NSAIDs, however, are available by prescription only because of the increased amount of the active ingredient in each pill.

Risks associated with the use of NSAIDs include blood thinning, increased bleeding, stomach irritation and severe liver and kidney damage. People who have stomach ulcers, those who take blood thinners and anyone with liver disease should not take NSAIDs due to increased risks and a worsening of their condition. Children should not take any NSAID that contains aspirin because it may cause Reye’s syndrome, a disease that can result in coma and death.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) – works on the pain centers in the brain to relieve pain. It is generally safer on the stomach than NSAIDs, however, it can cause severe kidney and liver damage when used over a long time period or at higher doses than what’s recommended on the label. This is even more of a risk in people who drink moderate to large amounts of alcohol, even if taken in lower-than-recommended doses.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, in general, have come under a great deal of scrutiny over the past few years, despite the fact that they were always viewed as “safe.” Even though they are available without a prescription, NSAID usage is associated with several risks, including gastrointestinal, kidney and heart complications (heart failure and myocardial infarction).

In recent years, some NSAIDs were “taken off the market, ” because of potentially serious consequences.

Migraine Medications: Abortive

Abortive migraine medications are designed to treat migraine symptoms after they’ve already started. There are several types of abortive migraine medications:

  • Triptans – the first prescription drugs manufactured specifically for treatment of migraine symptoms. They work by maintaining brain serotonin levels and are first-line drugs prescribed when OTC pain relievers are ineffective in relieving migraine symptoms. These drugs are generally effective and less sedating than other medications for migraines.

Side effects associated with the use of triptans for migraine relief include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, chest heaviness or chest pain, numbness/tingling in toes, feelings of warmth, ear, nose and/or throat discomfort, stroke, heart attack.

For those patients who are also taking a serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) anti-depressant, such as Paxil®, Prozac® or Zoloft®, or a serotonin/norepinephrine selective reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant, such as Cymbalta® or Effexor®, extreme caution is advised in prescribing triptans. Serotonin Syndrome, a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is an overabundance of the brain chemical serotonin, may result from taking these two types of medications in combination. Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome include restlessness, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, tremors, increased body temperature, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

  • Ergots – available in oral form, nasal spray, rectal suppositories and by injection, these migraine medications work by constricting blood vessel muscles. Many migraine sufferers find ergots are not as beneficial as triptans in treating migraine symptoms.

Side effects include nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, chest/abdominal pain, tingling sensations, toxicity at high levels, lung/heart/kidney fibrosis (internal scarring of the tissue), miscarriage, heart attack and stroke.

  • Lidocaine Nose Drops – can provide relief of migraine symptoms within 15 minutes of administration. Must be inserted into nose with head dangling (i.e., over the side of a bed). Lidocaine can cause numbness in the face, an unpleasant taste in the mouth and/or a burning sensation in the nose. It may also cause migraine headache relapse within an hour, requiring that you take stronger medication.
  • Opiates – used when migraine pain is unresponsive to other medications; opiates are usually not administered as first-line medications. Oral opiates used for relief from migraines include morphine, codeine, meperidine (Demerol), or oxycodone (Oxycontin). Some opiates are used in combination with pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen.

Opiates pose an extremely high risk for dependence/addiction and have other side effects that include drowsiness, nausea, constipation and impaired judgment.

Migraine Medications: Preventive

There is another classification of migraine medications that contains preventive medications, designed to reduce the occurrence of migraine symptoms in the first place. Most of these drugs are not reported to work very well.

  • NSAIDs – OTC pain relievers (NSAIDs) may be prescribed for daily use to help prevent the onset of migraine symptoms. Prescription-strength NSAIDs may reduce the onset of symptoms as well, in about 50% of all migraine sufferers, particularly women who experience PMS migraines. However, daily long-term use of NSAIDs is linked to gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers.

Since 2005, prescription NSAIDs sold in the U.S. are required to carry “black box” warning labels that specifically state that there is an increased risk for cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal bleeding in patients who take these drugs.

  • Beta-Blockers – originally prescribed to treat high blood pressure in patients, beta-blockers are being prescribed as migraine medications to relieve the frequency, severity and duration of migraine symptoms.

Side effects include dizziness/lightheadedness when going from a sitting/lying down position to a standing position, vivid dreams, fatigue, depression, cold hands and feet, gastrointestinal dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, asthma, decreased heart function, dry mouth, eyes, and skin, breathing problems, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea/constipation, swelling in hands and feet, and memory loss.

  • Anti-Seizure Medications – this class of migraine medications is effective in preventing the “over-firing” of the brain neurotransmitter, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is also responsible for seizure activity. Because of serious side effects, they are not used routinely as first-line medications.

Side effects include sleepiness, dizziness, fatigue, weight loss/gain, tingling sensation in arms and legs, blurred or double vision, nausea, skin rashes, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), damage to the liver, hair loss, changes in mood/behavior, loss of appetite, twitching, irritability, difficulty concentrating, unsteadiness, fever, and kidney stones.

  • Antidepressants – several types of antidepressants are used to control symptoms of migraines and other types of headaches. These medications affect serotonin levels in the brain that may be responsible for migraine headaches and depression. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Elavil®, Endep®, Pamelor®, Aventyl®, Sinequan®, Vivactil® have been shown to be especially effective, particularly in patients that suffer from both depression and migraines.

Common side effects of antidepressants include dry mouth, urinary retention, blurred vision, constipation, fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight gain, headache, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, diarrhea, abdominal pain, impotence, inability to achieve orgasm, loss of libido, agitation and anxiety. More severe side effects include liver inflammation, heart attack, stroke, and seizures, suicidal thoughts and behavior, violent behavior, heart rhythm disturbances and death due to overdose.

  • Calcium-channel blockers – these medications often take months to have an effect on the onset of migraine symptoms. Side effects include swelling of the feet due to fluid accumulation, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, constipation, fatigue, impotence, gingivitis and allergic symptoms. For some, calcium-channel blockers actually cause headaches that can be as severe as the migraines they are attempting to prevent!

Migraine Medications: What’s on the Horizon?

As you can see, many medications that are intended to treat other conditions (i.e., seizures, depression) are being used off-label (not for their originally intended purpose) as migraine medications to either treat or prevent migraine headaches.

Many other prescription medications are being investigated to determine their potential to be used as migraine treatments. However, since the side effects of many of these medications can be extremely dangerous, many migraine sufferers find themselves in a quandary. Do the benefits of taking migraine medications really outweigh the risks? How can you tell if you are at risk for any of the side effects before you invest your time, money, and emotion in these medications that may just be the “cure” you’re looking for? You can’t.

So… what are you supposed to do?

Migraine Medications or a Safe, Drug-Free Approach?

Person with questions image

Many people are becoming aware of the dangerous side effects of many medications that are prescribed for daily usage. There seems to be the start of a movement away from frequently toxic, risky medications toward more natural alternatives to prevent and treat illness and disease.

One such alternative for the prevention and relief of migraine symptoms has shown success in eliminating and correcting the cause of your migraine attacks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t have to worry about migraine symptoms or medications or at all?

The sponsors of are chiropractors who are specially educated and trained to be able to identify and remove spinal interference in your nervous system. Spinal interference is caused when a bone is out of place in your spine. The out-of-place bone exerts pressure on surrounding nerves that function as communication “messengers” between the brain and the body!

“When communication between the brain and the body is interfered with in some way, your body may respond by becoming sick in the area affected by the nerve interference, ” says a busy chiropractor in Ashville, NC. “If you have ever suffered any type of head or neck trauma, such as an accident (slip or fall, auto crash) or injury, this can cause a bone to move out of its proper place and press on the nerves that exit the spine in the space above and below the affected bone. When this happens, the body part that is controlled by the impaired nerves may become affected with illness or dis-ease and, sometimes, this can even take years to happen!”

Do you call Raleigh home? Find chiropractors in Raleigh here.

How Does Chiropractic Care Help?

Our sponsors are chiropractors who put misaligned bones back into their proper place. When they do this, the affected nerves are no longer compromised; they become freed up to function the way they are supposed to, and the problem(s) caused by the nerve interference is often resolved – for good!

How do chiropractors put bones back into their proper positions? They apply a very precise adjustment to the bone that is out-of-place, an adjustment that is drug-free, safe and all-natural. The result? The nerve interference is relieved – so the body is able to heal itself! By locating and eliminating the underlying cause of your migraine symptoms, your nervous system returns to normal functioning and your migraine symptoms either disappear completely or they occur far less frequently and with less pain than in the past.

No one can predict an individual’s results with any approach used to treat migraines, or any other disease for that matter, which is why medications are switched time and time again and may never be right! But we can tell you that many of our patients are now migraine-free because of the chiropractic care they’ve received.

What Should You Do Now?

The easiest way to learn more about migraine relief through gentle chiropractic care is to call one of our sponsoring chiropractors today. Make an appointment for a thorough examination and health history to determine whether chiropractic is a good choice for you.

Please give risk-free migraine relief a try, before you take migraine medications with all their potentially dangerous side effects. You have nothing to lose, except your chronic migraine pain!

Paradise Found: A Migraine Sufferer’s Story

They would come on me just like that.Often my migraines occurred along with other PMS symptoms and, at other times, they just seemed to come out of the blue. Bammm! And I was flat on my back, in my bedroom, no noise, no light and a cold compress on my head.I tried to get by without medication – I hated the thought of taking anything every day, but my doctor advised that this was really my “best bet” because of the number of migraines I had every month and the toll they were taking on me.

They had started off fairly infrequently, when I was about 16, but they now seemed to come maybe 6 or 7 times a month. I had a little delay between the start of my symptoms and the real “attack, ” but I was hesitant to go too far from home because I didn’t want to be driving or be unable to get home if I felt one coming on.

So, I started off with one medication, and it made me feel really dizzy and lightheaded all the time. I could barely get up out of bed, let alone drive. The doctor asked me to give it a week or two, but I couldn’t stand it! I couldn’t work or even function – all I wanted to do was to sleep!

So… it was on to something else…

The next thing I tried was an antidepressant. Well… I could barely stay awake, my craving for sweets was uncontrollable, I felt completely unfocused and I gained 25 pounds in 4 months. And this was an antidepressant? I couldn’t have been more depressed.

So here I was – frustrated and depressed – and I was still getting my migraines. I just happened to be reading the paper one day when I saw an article in the health section about migraines and chiropractic care, written by a chiropractor in my town. I figured what the heck, I’d already tried OTC pain and migraine medications and prescription migraine medications to treat my migraine symptoms and what had they done for me – nothing!

So… I went to meet with Dr. Steve. He was wonderful and he said he would certainly work to try to help me. He said that he had seen great results with other migraine patients, but it could take awhile, so I would have to be patient. He said I didn’t get this way overnight and I wouldn’t get better overnight either. So, I agreed to start under care and hoped for the best.

Dr. Steve was right and I stayed with him even though I really didn’t feel much better after the first month. After the second month, however, I was getting fewer migraines and I was pretty much able to function right through them. By the end of my third month under chiropractic care, they were gone. No more drugs, no more terrible side effects, no more pain. I was a changed person!

I have told others in my migraine support group about Dr. Steve and several of them have tried chiropractic like I did with similar results. I would venture to say that in a few months, there won’t be a support group anymore because no one in our group will have migraines any longer, thanks to chiropractic care!

Thank you, Dr. Steve, for giving me my life back. You’re the best!

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