Western style treatments for Barometric Pressure Headaches usually involve the use of analgesics (painkillers) and/or other medication that are also used to treat a variety of headaches and migraines caused by other conditions.
The majority of people will buy traditional over-the-counter (OTC) medicine at a pharmacy for ‘typical’ headaches or use medicine prescribed by a doctor for migraines. Non-specific OTC treatments such as Aspirin, Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g. Ibuprofen can be used for both simple headaches and migraines, as can combination medication that incorporate additional substances e.g. sedatives or caffeine. Antihistamines can in certain circumstances be used to help reduce swelling although they are more commonly used to treat Tension-Type Headaches caused by allergy responses. In general, it is better to take medication as soon as possible when a headache begins and avoid allowing it to ‘set in’ and become entrenched.
Various regimes and approaches can be offered by a medical professional to find the best way to address the issue of severe headaches and migraines. Some people may be prescribed medicine to be used as a preventative measure. This may be taken during a period of elevated risk i.e. should the patient know the pattern of weather likely to start headaches, or taken on a daily or regular basis (prophylactically) with the option to increase the dose slightly when an actual headache or migraine develops. Other drugs are specifically designed to be taken at the onset of a migraine, whilst some can be used in a supplementary fashion to provide additional assistance and relief over a longer period of time.
Medication used to prevent migraines from starting include:
- Antidepressants e.g. Amitriptyline.
- Anti-Hypertensive medications e.g. Candesartan.
- Anti-Seizure medications and Neuromodulators help reduce excess electrical activity in the brain e.g. Topiramate.
- Beta Blockers e.g. Propranolol.
- Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox) injections.
- Calcium Channel Blockers e.g. Verapamil.
- Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine that is sometimes prescribed for children.
Medication used to treat migraines that have begun are referred to as ‘acute’ or ‘abortive’ medication. These drugs provide pain relief and are designed to help tackle migraine symptoms:
- Butalbital is a sedative that can be used combined with various substances, e.g. aspirin or caffeine ( refer to risks associated with caffeine usage and Headache Rebound Syndrome: Caffeine and Headaches – Caffeine Disadvantages).
- Ergots e.g. Ergotamine tartrate.
- Lidocaine Nasal Drops.
- NSAIDs e.g. Ibuprofen.
- Opiates e.g. Morphine.
- Triptans are the current mainstay of acute migraine treatment e.g. Sumatriptan.
For some individuals, certain drugs used to treat nausea may have a preventative or abortive effect against migraines e.g. Prochlorperazine.
Biofeedback is a treatment technique that aims to enable a person to control and manipulate the activity of various physiological functions at will through feedback provided by a variety of instruments e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG. In effect, a person is trained to improve their health by recognising and controlling signals from their own body. Functions that have shown to be manipulated include the perception of pain, heart rate and output, muscle tone, skin conductance and brainwaves. A wide variety of conditions are treated using biofeedback techniques including blood pressure and circulatory disorders, cardiac arrhythmias, digestive disorders, epilepsy and various types of pain including headaches and migraines. Biofeedback is in part a Western approach that produces quantifiable data which builds on Eastern techniques such as meditation that have been practised for millennia.