Migraine exacerbations are never treated solely by medication – if not admitted to hospital, the patient must cater for the right treatment himself. Treatment at home is considered complimentary to medication, however it is a significant part of general treatment.
During the aura and headache phases, the patient must not be strained physically. Sports, carrying heavy objects, or even cleaning the house are strictly forbidden. If possible, even cooking should be left to another person: If the aura or headache phase impairs locomotory abilities, boiling water or hot cooking utensils could cause severe accidents and injuries. Provided the patient enjoys enough rest, perhaps by lying down in bed or on the sofa and listening to some quiet music, the headaches cease far quicker.
As long as symptoms persevere, the patient must be rested in a dark room. Photophobia is a common symptom during a migraine attack and can cause symptoms to increase rapidly. Once the patients starts feeling better, light can slowly be reintroduced into the room by gradually opening the blinds further and further. Visual effort, such as work at the computer or reading, ought to be avoided until the symptoms have vanished fully.
Many patients experience head massages as extremely pleasant during the severe phases of migraine. As soon as the headaches begin to cease, massages of the forehead and the temple are warmly welcomed. Not only do they help relax, they also go hand in hand with human company, which can be soothing for suffering patients. Especially young children may panic during exacerbations – parents can help by sitting on the side of the bed to calm the child. Even adults profit from human contact once symptoms begin to grow better.
During the severe phases of migraine, all possible triggers must be strictly avoided – even if the aura and the headaches have bettered. Shortly after a migraine attack even the slightest trigger can be a risk and cause another attack right after the first. This would give the patient only very little time to regenerate. Rather than watching TV, for example, patients should listen to a talking book if they feel bored lying flat all day long. Furthermore, they must not forget to eat and drink, which often occurs during the painful phases. Water, either with or without carbonic acid, is the best drinks choice. Food shouldn’t be too sharp or stressful for the gastrointestinal system, as migraines tend to cause gastrointestinal symptoms in many patients anyway.