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Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe

Overview of Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe

Most patients begin noticing headaches in their teens and 20s. Typically, migraine headaches occur only on occasion, perhaps once every few months. Over time, headaches may become more frequent. In some, the pattern increases to headaches more often than not?i.e. more than 50% of the days with pain present about the head and/or neck. Less commonly, headaches become near daily, daily, or even a constant 24/7.

Home Remedies for Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe :

Certain care strategies can help prevent headaches or ease the pain. A person could:

  • Use a heat or ice pack against the head or neck, but avoid extreme temperatures, and never apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Avoid stressors whenever possible, and use healthful coping strategies for unavoidable stress.
  • Eat regular meals, taking care to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Get enough sleep, by following a regular routine and keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
  • Exercise regularly to boost overall health and lower stress.
  • Limit alcohol intake and drink plenty of water.
  • Take breaks when working to stretch and prevent eye strain.

When to see doctor for Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe :

Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly have signs and symptoms of migraine, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches.

Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.

See your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following signs and symptoms, which could indicate a more serious medical problem:

  • An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
  • Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache worsens
  • A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
  • New headache pain after age 50

Treatment for the Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe

Migraine treatment is aimed at stopping symptoms and preventing future attacks.

Many medications have been designed to treat migraines. Medications used to combat migraines fall into two broad categories:

  • Pain-relieving medications. Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.
  • Preventive medications. These types of drugs are taken regularly, often daily, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Your treatment choices depend on the frequency and severity of your headaches, whether you have nausea and vomiting with your headaches, how disabling your headaches are, and other medical conditions you have.

Medications for relief

Medications used to relieve migraine pain work best when taken at the first sign of an oncoming migraine ? as soon as signs and symptoms of a migraine begin. Medications that can be used to treat it include:

  • Pain relievers. These over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers include aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others). When taken too long, these might cause medication-overuse headaches, and possibly ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

    Migraine relief medications that combine caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen (Excedrin Migraine) may be helpful, but usually only against mild migraine pain.

  • Triptans. These are prescription drugs such as sumatriptan (Imitrex, Tosymra) and rizatriptan (Maxalt) are prescription drugs used for migraine because they block pain pathways in the brain. Taken as pills, shots or nasal sprays, they can relieve many symptoms of migraine. They might not be safe for those at risk of a stroke or heart attack.

  • Dihydroergotamines (D.H.E. 45, Migranal). Available as a nasal spray or injection, these are most effective when taken shortly after the start of migraine symptoms for migraines that tend to last longer than 24 hours. Side effects can include worsening of migraine-related vomiting and nausea.

    People with coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or kidney or liver disease should avoid dihydrogergotamines.

  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow). This new oral tablet is approved for the treatment of migraine with or without aura. In drug trials, lasmiditan significantly improved pain as well as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Lasmiditan can have a sedative effect and cause dizziness, so people taking it are advised not to drive or operate machinery for at least eight hours. Lasmiditan also shouldn't be taken with alcohol or other drugs that depress the central nervous system.

  • Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy). This oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist is approved for the treatment of acute migraine with or without aura in adults. It's the first drug of this type approved for migraine treatment. In drug trials, ubrogepant was more effective than placebo in relieving pain and other migraine symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound two hours after taking it. Common side effects include dry mouth, nausea and excessive sleepiness. Ubrogepant should not be taken with strong CYP3A4 inhibitor drugs.

  • Opioid medications. People who have migraines who can't take other migraine medications, narcotic opioid medications, especially those that contain codeine, might help. Because they can be highly addictive, these are usually used only if no other treatments are effective.

  • Anti-nausea drugs. These can help if your migraine with aura is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Anti-nausea drugs include chlorpromazine, metoclopramide (Reglan) or prochlorperazine (Compro). These are usually taken with pain medications.

Preventive medications

Medications can help prevent frequent migraines. Your doctor might recommend preventive medications if you have frequent, long-lasting or severe headaches that don't respond well to treatment.

Preventive medication is aimed at reducing how often you get a migraine how severe the attacks are and how long they last. Options include:

  • Blood pressure-lowering medications. These include beta blockers such as propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL, others) and metoprolol tartrate (Lopressor). Calcium channel blockers such as verapamil (Tarka, Verelan) can be helpful in preventing migraines with aura.
  • Antidepressants. A tricyclic antidepressant (amitriptyline) can prevent migraines. Because of the side effects of amitriptyline, such as sleepiness and weight gain, other antidepressants might be prescribed instead.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. Valproate and topiramate (Topamax) might help you have less frequent migraines, but can cause side effects such as dizziness, weight changes, nausea and more.
  • Botox injections. Injections of onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) about every 12 weeks help prevent migraines in some adults.
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies. Erenumab-aooe (Aimovig), fremanezumab-vfrm (Ajovy) and galcanezumab-gnlm (Emgality) are newer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat migraines. They're given monthly by injection. The most common side effect is a reaction at the injection site.

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