Migraine Treatments: Diagnosis and Reducing Pain Steps

Treatment is based on your medical history, headache traits and reactions to treatment.

Your treatment and diagnosis are based on easing the symptoms and stopping future attacks. Criteria from the International Headache Society may also be used.


If you're having migraines, it's important to get a proper diagnosis, so that you can find the best possible treatment. Here's how healthcare professionals typically diagnose migraines:

  • Consultation: First, your doctor will interview you to understand your headache patterns, symptoms and anything that may be linked to your headaches.This helps to figure out your migraine traits.

  • Neuroimaging Tests: Sometimes, especially if your headaches are unusual or sudden, your doctor may suggest neuroimaging tests (such as an MRI or a CT scan).These tests aren’t usually needed for a migraine diagnosis but are done to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.

  • Physical and Neurological Examination: A physical and neurological examination can be important. Your doctor will check for any physical signs or neurological differences that could have something to do with your headaches.This makes sure that your migraines are not being caused by something else.

Click Pharmacy Can Also Help You

As a certified UK online pharmacy, we can help you with the first steps of diagnosis. If you are having migraines, you can start by completing a short medical assessment.


Medications for migraine pain work best when taken as soon as the symptoms start. Here are some available treatments:

  • Preventive Medications:These are used to reduce how often your migraines happen and how bad they are. Each medicine has its way of acting and possible side effects. How well each works can vary from person to person.

  • Acute Treatments:For medium to very strong migraines, triptans are often used. These block pain pathways in the brain. For milder migraines, there are other options.

  • Non-Medication Relief:If you can’t use or access medications, you can ease migraines in other ways, such as finding out what your migraine triggers are so that you can avoid them. This might include relaxation, getting plenty of sleep schedule and using cold compresses.Other ways to relieve migraines are non-invasive nerve stimulation devices and lifestyle changes (such as diet changes and stress management).

It is very important to find out what works best for you by trying different methods and seeing how they affect you. You should also always speak to your GP, who will guide you based on your needs. Remember, if your current treatment isn't giving you the relief you need, there may be other options.

Medications for relief

Some treatments for migraines work best when used as soon as the symptoms start. These medications include:

  • NSAIDs and Analgesics: NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, and analgesics, such as acetaminophen, can be used for milder migraines. But, long-term use may lead to headaches and stomach issues.

  • Triptans:These are the first choice of treatment for medium to very strong migraines. They block the pain pathways in the brain. They are available in several forms (pills, injections and nasal sprays). But, they may not be ideal if you have a risk of stroke or heart attack.

  • Dihydroergotamine: This is available as a nasal spray or injection. It works well when taken at the start of the migraine, especially in migraines that last longer than 24 hours. You should not take it if you have coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or kidney/liver disease.

  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow):This is quite a new oral treatment approved for migraines with or without aura. It can help a lot with headache pain. But, it can make you feel sleepy or dizzy, and you should not drive or operate machinery for at least 8 hours after taking it.

  • Gepants:Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) and rimegepant (Nurtec ODT) are approved for dealing with sudden migraines in adults. They have worked well in lowering pain and migraine symptoms (such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound), with common side effects (such as dry mouth and nausea).

  • Intranasal Zavegepant (Zavzpret):This is a nasal spray that brings relief quickly after taking it. It can continue working for up to 48 hours. It also helps with other migraine symptoms.

  • Opioid Medications:These may be a good choice if you can’t take other migraine medications. But, opioids can be very addictive, which is why they are usually a last resort.

  • Anti-Nausea Drugs:If you feel sick during migraines, anti-nausea medications may help. These are often taken with pain medications.

It's important to talk to your GP before you start any new medication, especially if you already have other health conditions, are pregnant or are trying to conceive. This makes sure that the treatment is safe for you.

Preventive Medications

Migraines can be prevented using medications that reduce how often they occur, how long they last and how severe they are. The most common preventive medications are:

Antiepileptic Drugs

  • Topiramate and divalproex sodium (valproate sodium) reduce how often migraines happen.

Antihypertensive Medications

  • Beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors can also do a lot to prevent migraines.


  • Amitriptyline and other antidepressants work less well at preventing migraines. But, they can be used as a second choice.

Injection Therapies

  • OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) prevents chronic migraines.

CGRP Antagonists

  • Newer medications that target CGRPs seem to do well at preventing migraines.

Additional Options

  • Supplements such as magnesiumriboflavin (vitamin B2) and butterbur root extract (Petasites), alongside traditional therapy may help.

New Medications

  • New sumatriptan formulations are being developed, and new classes of drugs for acute migraine treatment are being explored. Some of these are ditans and gepants. Because these do not narrow blood vessels, they may be a better choice.

How often migraines occur, how bad they are and any additional conditions should be considered when choosing your treatment.

Non-Medication Relief

If you don’t have access to medications, or you want to avoid them, there are other relief methods that you can use.

But, while these methods can be helpful, they don’t replace traditional medical treatments. Their use alongside medical treatments can be helpful. Here's a detailed overview:


Massage therapy can help reduce how often you have migraines. Although there isn’t much evidence supporting this method, it generally has a low risk of side effects.

Ice Packs and Local Scalp Pressure

Applying an ice pack and local scalp pressure can help with migraine pain. You can use an elastic band with firm rubber discs under to apply pressure over the area with the worst pain.

Lifestyle Changes

Natural remedies, such as aerobic exercise, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, cognitive therapies, acupuncture and dietary supplements, may help when used with traditional treatments.

Manual Therapies

Manual therapies like physiotherapy might be just as effective as some medications at preventing migraines.

Behavioral Treatments

Relaxation training, thermal biofeedback and relaxation training, electromyographic feedback and cognitive behavioural therapy can help prevent migraines.


Vitamins, supplements and herbal preparations can work well.

While non-medication options can be effective, you must speak with your GP to find the best approach for you. It’s important to make sure these methods are used safely and effectively with any necessary medical treatments.

Steps to Reducing Pain

Here are a few simple steps that may help you effectively manage pain, especially when you don’t have access to medicine:

  • Deep Breathing: Start by focusing on your breath. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and then breathe out slowly through your mouth. This can help reduce the immediate feeling of pain.

  • Cold Therapy: For acute pain, place a cold pack on the painful area for 15–20 minutes every hour to decrease blood flow and numb the area.

  • Heat Therapy: After 48 hours, or for chronic pain, switch to heat therapy. Apply a warm compress or heating pad to the affected area to relax your muscles and increase blood circulation.

  • Gentle Movement: Slowly start with gentle exercises, such as stretching, walking or yoga. This can release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

  • Mindfulness or Meditation: Put aside time for mindfulness or meditation. This can help decrease stress and change how you view the pain.

  • Visualisation Techniques: Imagine a calm environment or visualise the pain leaving a little with each breath. This can lower the sensation of pain.

  • Healthy Diet: Include foods such as leafy greens, nuts and fatty fish in your diet. Good nutrition can support healing and lower pain levels.

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water during the day. Dehydration can make pain conditions worse.

  • Good Sleep: Aim for 7–9 hours of good sleep every night. Sleep helps the body repair, which is very important for pain management.

  • Evaluate and Adjust Your Posture: Regularly check and correct your posture, especially if you often sit for a long time. Bad posture can cause muscle tension and pain.

Trying these steps one by one can help manage your pain. However, it's important to speak to your GP about ongoing or very bad pain to make sure you’re making the right choices to manage it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Use these FAQs to quickly find answers to your biggest questions about managing and stopping migraines.

What helps with migraines?

A proper diagnosis, preventive measures and personalised treatment plans are important. Taking medication, changing your lifestyle and spotting triggers can really help you manage migraines. Talk to your GP to choose the best strategy.

How to get rid of a migraine?

You can often get immediate relief with acute treatments. Cold therapy and relaxation may also help. It's important to start treatment as soon as your symptoms start.

How to stop a migraine?

Stopping a migraine needs a few preventive measures (such as medication and lifestyle changes) and acute treatments as soon as your symptoms start. Understanding and staying away from things that cause your migraines will also help.

How to cure migraines permanently?

While there's currently no cure for migraines, they can be managed well with medications, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. Ongoing research is still looking into more permanent solutions.

How to help with a migraine?

Taking medication when your symptoms start, resting in a dark and quiet room and using cold packs can really help. Over-the-counter medications may also help some people.

How to treat a migraine?

Migraine treatment should be right for your needs. It can include both preventive and acute medications. Lifestyle adjustments and avoiding triggers are also important.

How to relieve a migraine?

Acute medication, rest, hydration and some home remedies can help. Preventive treatments can reduce how often attacks occur and how bad they are.

How do you get rid of a migraine headache? 

You can quickly get rid of a migraine by taking medications as soon as your symptoms start. You can also rest in a comfortable, dark and quiet room. Staying hydrated is also important.

How to get rid of a migraine quickly?

The fastest way to get rid of a migraine is to take acute medications as soon as your symptoms start. Other fast-acting methods are cold therapy and relaxation.

What to do for a migraine?

For a migraine, take your medication straight away. Rest in a dark and quiet room, drink plenty of water, and use cold or warm compresses. Avoid stress and make sure you get plenty of sleep.

What to do during a migraine?

During a migraine, it's important to take your medication, rest in a quiet and dark room, use a cold compress and try to sleep or relax.

How to deal with migraines?

To deal with migraines, you need a clear plan. It should include taking medication, making lifestyle changes, identifying your triggers and talking to your GP or a certified online pharmacy like Click Pharmacy.

How to ease a migraine?

To ease a migraine, take your medications, use cold therapy, try relaxation techniques and make lifestyle changes to avoid triggers. Speak with your GP for guidance based on your needs.

Sources and Useful Links

World Health Organization (WHO)

International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)

European Pain Federation (EFIC)

British Pain Society (BPS)

Pain Relief Foundation

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)


The Pain Toolkit

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