Is aspirin the simple answer to migraine?

If you or someone you love suffers from migraine headaches, you know that a migraine is much more than a “really bad headache.”

But you may not know that instead of taking expensive migraine medications with troublesome side effects, you can try an alternative that’s actually been looked at for some time, although doctors rarely prescribe it.

That’s because a review of research studies has concluded that this inexpensive and easily available remedy could be the key to treatment and prevention for many migraine sufferers…

High-dose aspirin stops migraines from getting worse

The Migraine Research Foundation tells us that 12 percent of the U.S. population suffers from migraines, including ten percent of children.

And, stroke risk is doubled for at least a quarter of migraine sufferers.

So there’s every reason to seek out a safe, affordable, practical treatment for these debilitating headaches.

Just this month, researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine published a review of research, suggesting that high-dose aspirin (900 to 1300 mg) taken at the onset of migraine symptoms can effectively and safely keep those symptoms from progressing.

The review presented findings from the acute treatment (at the onset of symptoms) of 4,222 patients.

In addition, some of the trials reviewed in the study support the use of low-dose aspirin (81 to 325 mg) given daily as a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of recurrent migraines.

“Our review supports the use of high-dose aspirin to treat acute migraine as well as low dose daily aspirin to prevent recurrent attacks.” Says Dr. Charles H. Hennekens, a study author and senior academic advisor at the Schmidt College of Medicine.

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Migraine medications can be confusing, have unwanted side effects

“…the relatively favorable side effect profile of aspirin and extremely low costs compared with other prescription drug therapies may provide additional clinical options for primary care providers treating acute as well as recurrent migraine headaches,” says Dr. Hennekens.

In other words, doctors should be considering aspirin as a treatment, especially when a lack of insurance and high co-pays make migraine drugs impractical, or when patients have concerns about side effects.

Also, migraine meds can be downright confusing. And functioning with the side effects can be difficult.

The website drugs.com lists no fewer than 64 medications for migraine, many in the same family of medications, but with very different side effects.

Some side effects of migraine medications include sleepiness and fatigue, racing heartbeat, nausea, difficulty thinking, dizziness, muscle weakness, and chest pressure.

How to deal with migraines naturally

If you’ve been diagnosed with migraines, and you don’t want to take medication (or as adjuncts to your medication), there are some natural solutions that can help.

Meditation. Research has shown that when chronic migraine sufferers meditated for 20 minutes per day, both the frequency of their migraines and the amount of medication they used to treat them were significantly less.

Magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in balancing neurotransmitters in the body. So, it stands to reason that the right dose of magnesium can reduce migraine frequency by almost half!

Avoid contact with BPA. Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor found in plastic bottles and, believe it or not, in cash register receipts! BPA is thought to be a migraine trigger.

What if I think I’m having migraines?

You get frequent headaches. They sometimes prevent you from doing the things you need to do in a day, or from spending time with family and friends. But how do you know if it’s a migraine you’re experiencing?

Migraines stop you in your tracks with often unrelenting pain. Migraines can also come with visual disturbances, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell, or with a combination of these symptoms.

Since migraines are a neurological condition, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist for diagnosis if they think you may be having migraines.

There are some key differences between headaches, even bad ones, and migraines:

  • People with migraines may experience recurring symptoms that doctors call episodes or attacks.
  • A migraine usually occurs on one side of the head.
  • Migraines are often preceded by two distinct “warning” phases:
    • -The premonitory phase (non-painful symptoms like frequent yawning, stiff neck and food cravings) which can occur hours or even days before a migraine arrives
    • -The aura phase – sensory and/or motor disturbances that occur just before or during the headache. These can include blurred vision, blind spots, slurred speech, and having trouble thinking clearly.

Bottom line: If you have frequent headaches that interrupt your daily life, check with your doctor. If it’s migraines you’re suffering from, and nothing else seems to work, ask him if aspirin could be the answer for you.

Sources:

  1. Migraine headaches? Consider aspirin for treatment and prevention — EurekAlert
  2. Everything You Want to Know About Migraine — Healthline
  3. Migraine Facts — Migraine Research Foundation
  4. Migraine Drugs’ Effects Scare Many Away — WebMD
  5. What is the difference between a headache and a migraine? — Medical News Today
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.