Migraine Myths: Only Medication Can Help Migraine

Written by Jessica Puterbaugh | March 23, 2023

Don’t we all wish there was a magic pill that could cure our migraine forever?! Unfortunately, that is just not the case. Migraine is a complex neurological disease that presents itself on a wide spectrum of frequency, severity, symptoms, attack triggers, and responses to treatments. While medication is an important part of any treatment toolbox, it’s not the only option that can help those with migraine find some relief. Migraine is often best managed through a holistic approach that combines a mix of different treatment and lifestyle options.

Medication Alone is Not a Magic Bullet

It’s important to remember that medication on its own has limitations and challenges. It can take a very long time to find a medication that works for you. Even if you find one, it can stop working or become less effective over time. What works for one person may not work at all for another, and finding an effective medication requires considerable time and patience.

Furthermore, not everyone can take migraine medications because of comorbid health problems or contraindications with other medications. Some people experience intolerable side effects from certain migraine medications. And for many, cost and insurance barriers are prohibitive.

Migraine Treatment Beyond Medication

Effective and comprehensive migraine treatment means individualized treatment planning. There are no “one-size-fits-all” recipes, but having multiple treatment options in your migraine toolbox often leads to the best success for migraine management.

In addition to medications (preventive, abortive and rescue), people with migraine may find relief by adding the following to their treatment toolbox:

Non-Invasive Medical Devices for Migraine

These can help block the pain of a migraine or cluster attack, or even prevent attacks from starting-without the side effects that sometimes accompany medications. Currently, there are five FDA-cleared devices available-CEFALY, gammaCore, Nerivio, Relivion MG, and SAVI Dual. These include both preventive and abortive indications, with some cleared for both adult and adolescent use. Learn more about these devices and their uses here.

Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments

There are several non-pharmaceutical treatment options that can help manage migraine. These include:

  • Lifestyle modifications (including prioritizing sleep, exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing stress)
  • Supplements (such as vitamin B2, magnesium, butterbur and others)
  • Alternative Treatments (including acupuncture, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and meditation, massage therapy, restorative yoga)
  • Over-The-Counter Tools (including ice/heat packs, light filtering glasses, green light therapy, orthopedic pillows)

Read more about each of these non-pharmaceutical treatments and ways to add them to your treatment toolbox here.

You can also learn more about these treatment options and their benefits in our previous blog posts:

Beyond Medication: Treatment Tips and Tools for Managing Migraine

Beyond Medication: Sleep and the Migraine Brain

Beyond Medication: Diet and Migraine

Beyond Medication: Movement for Migraine

It is indeed a myth that only medication can help migraine! A well-rounded treatment plan that includes a mix of options can do wonders. So until that magic pill is developed, keep trying different things and figure out what helps you!

Let Us Know!

Are there treatments beyond medications that help your migraine? Has it taken you a long time to figure out what works? Do those things change over time?

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