MIGRAINE

6 Tips to help when a migraine strikes

Brought to you by Combogesic – a fast, effective, double-action pain killer that provides 30% more pain relief than taking the maximum dose of either Paracetamol or Ibuprofen on their own1

When it comes to pain relief, at Combogesic we believe in the power of a great combination.

Combogesic is effective pain relief that combines the power of paracetamol and ibuprofen into one convenient tablet, to make something stronger than taking either ingredient alone.

We’ve brought together a migraine specialist and a GP, with the aim of helping you benefit from their combined wisdom. Consultant Neurologist Dr Nicholas Silver, and Dr Dawn Harper, GP, have agreed their top tips for how to try and proactively manage the impact of migraine.

Woman with a migrane
Dr Nicholas Silver

Consultant neurologist Dr Nicholas Silver advises:

“Migraine is often a highly disabling condition. Patients may have occasional attacks (episodic migraine) or they may suffer from more regular attacks, with headache for more than half the month (chronic migraine). Depending on the type, severity and permanence of migraines, treatment options will be different.

Migraines may present with headache but may cause many different symptoms, sometimes with little or no headache (e.g. fatigue, light, noise and/or smell sensitivity, sinus pain, nasal congestion, dizziness, mood disturbance,). Patients need to take control of their condition and to do this they will need to lay down a foundation of lifestyle changes that remains in place long term, such as regular fluids, food and sleep with avoidance of caffeine and overuse of pain killers. It’s also important to ensure you follow the appropriate dosage recommendation as per the packaging. If this is not sufficient to minimise the symptoms, speak to your pharmacist about effective medication to help with the pain and nausea. If the condition continues to remain severe and poorly controlled despite trying acute pain relief medications, you may need to seek guidance from your GP who can advise you on additional preventative strategies or refer you to a headache specialist.”

Dr Dawn Harper

GP Dr Dawn Harper advises:

“Migraines affect 1 in 7 people in the UK and are more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined2. As you may know all too well, migraine can be very debilitating and painful. Whether your symptoms typically include severe headaches, sensitivity to light or feelings of nausea, migraine attacks can be frightening and frustrating, often resulting in you having to lie quietly in a dark room for several hours and possibly take time off work. I strongly recommend taking a proactive approach to try and minimise the impact on your life. Fast and effective pain relief is readily available from your local pharmacist. Being proactive can enable you to effectively manage your pain, so you can carry on with your day.”

Migraines may present with headache but may cause many different symptoms, sometimes with little or no headache (e.g. fatigue, light, noise and/or smell sensitivity, sinus pain, nasal congestion, dizziness, mood disturbance,). Patients need to take control of their condition and to do this they will need to lay down a foundation of lifestyle changes that remains in place long term, such as regular fluids, food and sleep with avoidance of caffeine and overuse of pain killers. It’s also important to ensure you follow the appropriate dosage recommendation as per the packaging. If this is not sufficient to minimise the symptoms, speak to your pharmacist about effective medication to help with the pain and nausea. If the condition continues to remain severe and poorly controlled despite trying acute pain relief medications, you may need to seek guidance from your GP who can advise you on additional preventative strategies or refer you to a headache specialist.”

Top Tips

Migraine is a complex condition with no one set of specific symptoms that could be said to be ‘typical’ of migraine. So, your experience of the condition will likely be unique to you. As a result, it’s tricky to provide cast-iron advice that’s applicable to everyone, but below are our collective top tips that might help you to manage the impact of migraine.

1

Keep to a routine

Try to stick to a regular routine as much as possible when it comes to things like when you eat meals, the time you go to bed and wake up each day, and when and for how long you exercise. If you get migraines, your brain might well be sensitive to environmental changes that the brain considers threatening. So, a consistent schedule can help reduce the chance of a migraine being triggered.

2

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines. With busy lives, it can be difficult to remember to keep drinking fluids, so try drinking a glass after every bathroom break as a regular prompt. Drinking between two and two and half litres a day might help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of your migraine attacks.

3

Track your triggers

Modifying your lifestyle to avoid certain triggers may be helpful in avoiding attacks. One way to get a better understanding of your migraines is to keep a diary with the details of your attacks. Try to capture specifics such as when the symptoms started, what you had been doing or eating beforehand, the severity of pain you experienced, how long the attack lasted and any medication taken. This can help you to recognise trigger factors and warning signs that a migraine is developing. Many people with migraine have warning signs that may occur hours or even days before an attack. Symptoms may include fatigue, craving sweet food, increased noise and light sensitivity or feelings of detachment3.

4

Take proactive action

When a migraine strikes, act quickly at the onset of the headache to try and prevent it from getting worse. Visit your local pharmacy and ask about over-the-counter solutions. Drink a large glass of water and if possible eat some carbohydrates. If nausea is present then consider an anti-sickness tablet that also helps to keep the stomach moving – this will allow better absorption of food and fluid.

5

Effective pain relief

Over-the-counter oral pain relief is a go-to option for migraine pain. There are options available in pharmacy to help you step-up your pain relief whilst enabling you to carry on with your day. Whether it’s paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of both speak to your pharmacist who can advise on the best treatment plan.

1Compared with the maximum over-the-counter doses of standard paracetamol 1000mg & standard ibuprofen 200/400mg
2https://www.migrainetrust.org/
3https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/migraine-what-is-it/symptoms-and-stages/

Dr Nick Silver and Dr Dawn Harper do not endorse Combogesic or any other medicine.

What can you do if your pain is not relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen alone?

GP Dr Dawn Harper shares her powerful pain relief tips.
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Dr Dawn Harper

Combogesic should not be taken with other products containing paracetamol, ibuprofen, acetylsalicylic acid, salicylates or with any other anti-inflammatory medicines unless under a doctor’s instruction.