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Migraine and Treatment Tips for Australians

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective strategies for managing and treating migraines, specifically tailored for Australians seeking relief. Migraines are a prevalent neurological condition affecting millions of Australians every year, causing severe pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and other debilitating symptoms. The condition can impact an individual's quality of life and productivity, making it crucial to identify effective treatments.

Many Australians struggle to manage their migraines, often relying on home remedies or over-the-counter medications that provide temporary relief. However, there are several treatment options available that can help alleviate migraines and prevent their occurrence. This guide will cover everything from natural remedies to the latest medications and psychological services so that you can find a solution that best suits your needs.

Identifying and avoiding migraine triggers is critical for managing and preventing migraines.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective migraine treatment requires a comprehensive approach that includes natural remedies, medications, and psychological support.

  • Identifying and avoiding migraine triggers is critical for managing and preventing migraines.

  • Migraines with aura can be particularly distressing and often require specialised treatment.

  • The connection between migraines and strokes highlights the importance of seeking medical attention if you suspect a connection.

  • By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for migraines, Australians can take proactive steps towards finding relief and improving their overall quality of life.

Understanding Migraines: Causes, Symptoms, and Triggers

Migraines are more than just headaches, and their causes are still not entirely clear. While they affect individuals differently, some of the common symptoms include moderate to severe head pain, pulsing or throbbing sensations on one side of the head, and sensitivity to light and noise. A migraine episode can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, during which sufferers may also experience nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

So, what is the cause of a migraine headache? One possible cause is an imbalance in brain chemicals, such as serotonin, that affect blood vessels and nerves in the head. There are also genetic factors that can make some individuals more prone to migraines. Other possible triggers include stress, hormonal changes, certain foods and beverages, and environmental factors like bright lights or strong smells.

To determine the cause of your migraines, it's important to track your symptoms and identify potential triggers.

Signs and Symptoms of Migraine Headaches

Causes of Migraine

Dizziness and blurry vision


Sensitivity to light and sound

Imbalance in brain chemicals

Throbbing or pulsing head pain

Hormonal changes

Nausea and vomiting


Weakness or numbness in the limbs

Food and beverage triggers

Knowing the symptoms of migraine headaches and their potential causes can help in managing and preventing future episodes.

Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief

At times, natural remedies may offer relief to migraine sufferers. In this section, we explore various natural treatments and lifestyle changes that can alleviate migraine symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.

1. Dietary Adjustments

Certain foods and drinks may trigger migraines. However, following a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in magnesium and low in fat, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol may help reduce the risk of migraines.

2. Vitamins

Research suggests a potential link between certain vitamins and migraine management. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), for instance, has shown promise in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines when taken regularly.

Similarly, magnesium supplementation may aid in migraine prevention by regulating neurotransmitters and blood vessel constriction. Although vitamins alone may not entirely eradicate migraines, incorporating them into a holistic treatment plan under medical guidance could offer significant relief to those grappling with these agonising headaches.

Evidences indicate that supplementation with magnesium, carnitine, riboflavin, niacin, CoQ10, vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and alpha lipoic acid

have prophylactic and therapeutic effects on migraine patients.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy that may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. The practice involves inserting thin needles into specific points of the body to stimulate the flow of energy and promote healing.

4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) serves as a valuable tool in the arsenal against migraines, offering a non-pharmacological approach to alleviate their impact. By systematically tensing and then releasing muscle groups throughout the body, PMR helps in reducing overall tension and stress, which are common triggers for migraines.

This technique not only promotes physical relaxation but also cultivates a heightened awareness of muscle tension, allowing individuals to preemptively address and mitigate stress-related migraines.

While PMR may not be a universal cure, its integration into a comprehensive migraine management plan, alongside other strategies, empowers individuals to better navigate and potentially diminish the frequency and severity of these debilitating headaches.

Practicing yoga may help reduce stress levels, which is a known trigger for migraines. These activities promote relaxation, flexibility, and mindfulness, which can improve overall well-being.

6. Ginger

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and may help alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with migraines. Consuming ginger through supplements, tea, or fresh root may offer relief for some individuals.

7. Regular Exercise

Regular exercise, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. Exercise promotes overall physical and mental health and can improve stamina and stress management.

Medications for Migraine Treatment

For Australians suffering from chronic or severe migraines, medications can offer an effective treatment option. There are various types of medications available for migraine relief, including over-the-counter options and prescription drugs. Your healthcare provider can guide you in choosing the best medications based on the frequency and severity of your migraines.

Here are some common medications used to treat migraines:

Medication Type

How It Works


Pain relievers

Reduce pain and inflammation

Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen


Reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels

Sumatriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan


Constrict blood vessels and reduce pain

Ergotamine, dihydroergotamine

Anti-nausea medications

Help control nausea and vomiting associated with migraines

Metoclopramide, prochlorperazine

Preventive medications

Reduce frequency and severity of migraines

Topiramate, propranolol, amitriptyline

Note that taking too many pain relievers, such as aspirin, can lead to liver toxicity and even overdose. If you experience symptoms like ringing in the ears, trouble breathing, or excessive fatigue, seek immediate medical attention.

Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medications for migraines, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking other prescriptions.

Psychological Services for Migraine Management

Migraines can be physically and emotionally debilitating. At iflow Psychology, we offer a range of psychological services to help individuals cope with the impact of migraines on their mental health and well-being. Our team of experienced psychologists provide personalised counselling and therapy to help individuals manage their migraines and develop coping strategies for dealing with migraine-related stress and anxiety.

Our services include:



Individual Therapy

One-on-one sessions with a psychologist to explore the emotional impact of migraines and develop strategies for coping with stress and anxiety caused by migraines.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

A focused psychotherapeutic approach that helps individuals identify negative thought patterns and develop positive coping strategies.

Mindfulness-based Therapy

Techniques that promote mindfulness, relaxation and stress-reduction to help individuals manage the effects of migraines on their overall well-being and quality of life.


A confidential and empathetic discussion with a mental health professional to address emotional concerns related to migraines and develop healthy coping strategies.

At iflow Psychology, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals living with migraines. Our compassionate and experienced team is here to support you in managing your migraines and improving your overall mental health and well-being.

Recognising and Managing Migraine Triggers

If you're someone who suffers from migraines, you'll know that the symptoms can be extremely debilitating, making it challenging to carry out even the simplest daily tasks. That's why we need to recognise and manage migraine triggers to avoid painful episodes.

Migraine triggers can vary between individuals, but some of the most common ones include:




Some foods, such as aged cheeses, processed meat, and chocolate, contain substances that can trigger migraines.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors like bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and changes in weather can lead to migraine attacks.

Lifestyle choices

Stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, and irregular meal timings can trigger migraines.

If you currently experience migraines or want to avoid them, it's best to identify which of these triggers affect you. Keeping a headache diary or journal can help you track your symptoms and identify patterns. Once you've identified your triggers, you can take the following steps to avoid them:

  • Avoid specific foods that trigger a migraine like chocolate, aged cheese, and processed meat.

  • Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and eye strain in bright sunlight.

  • Avoid strong smells and opt for scent-free products.

  • Take regular breaks if extended computer or phone use triggers your migraines.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and stay hydrated.

Taking these steps could help you avoid debilitating migraine episodes and enjoy a better quality of life. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Managing Migraine Aura and Associated Symptoms

For some people who experience migraines, visual disturbances called "aura" can accompany the headache pain. These visual changes can include flashing lights, zigzag lines, blind spots, or tingling sensations in the face or limbs.

The exact cause of aura in migraines is still unknown. However, it is believed that changes in blood flow to certain areas of the brain may be responsible. Certain environmental factors such as stress, bright lights, and dehydration can also trigger aura in individuals prone to migraine headaches.

Visual Auras

Visual auras typically last for 20 to 30 minutes, and then the headache pain begins. However, some individuals may experience migraines with only a visual aura and no headache pain. These episodes are known as "silent migraines".

If you experience visual aura, it is essential to visit your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions and explore potential treatment options to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further episodes.

Treatments for Migraines with Aura

There are various treatment options available for migraines with aura. Non-invasive treatments, such as acupuncture, relaxation therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy, may be helpful for some individuals. Additionally, medications such as Triptans or Ergotamines can be effective in treating migraines with aura.


How it works

Side effects


Constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation

Nausea, dizziness, fatigue


Constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation

Nausea, vomiting, muscle pain

It is important to speak with your doctor to determine which treatment option will be most effective for your specific symptoms and situation.

Migraine and Stroke: Understanding the Connection

Although migraines and strokes may seem unrelated, recent research has shown that there is a connection between the two. People who experience migraines, especially migraines with aura, have an increased risk of stroke, particularly ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that lead to the brain, while a hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain.

The link between migraines and strokes is not yet fully understood, but it is believed that the same underlying factors that cause migraines, such as inflammation and abnormalities in blood vessels, may also contribute to the development of strokes.

If you experience migraines, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of stroke, which can include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech

  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

  • Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to treating strokes, and early intervention can make a significant difference in outcomes.

A Sign of a Stroke: Face

Facial signs of a stroke often manifest as sudden and distinct changes that indicate neurological distress. One prominent indicator is facial drooping, typically affecting one side of the face, causing a lopsided or uneven appearance. This drooping might impact the smile, making it asymmetrical or difficult to achieve on one side. Additionally, individuals experiencing a stroke might struggle with facial numbness or a sudden inability to control facial muscles, leading to a lack of coordination in movements such as blinking or raising eyebrows. These facial signs, particularly when coupled with other stroke symptoms like arm weakness or slurred speech, necessitate immediate medical attention as they could signify a critical and time-sensitive health emergency.

One prominent indicator of a stroke is facial drooping.

Stroke Victim's Face

A quick way to recognise a stroke is to use the "F.A.S.T." test:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call an ambulance immediately. Time is critical.

The F.A.S.T. test is a simple and effective way to recognise the signs of stroke. Remember, if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call for emergency medical help right away.


In conclusion, migraines can be a debilitating condition that significantly impacts an individual's quality of life. The best treatment for a migraine headache may vary from person to person and depends on the severity and frequency of their symptoms. It is vital to seek medical advice to determine the best course of action.

One of the most frequently asked questions about migraines is how long do migraines last for? The duration of migraines can range from a few hours to several days. Migraine how long does it last varies amongst sufferers and can be influenced by factors such as medication and the severity of the symptoms.

Understanding migraine triggers, such as stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, and certain foods, can be critical in managing migraines. Headache and anxiety are often closely related, and anxiety can cause headaches. It is essential to identify and manage stress and anxiety effectively to minimise migraine occurrences.

Some individuals may wonder if migraines are hereditary, and while genetics can play a role, environment and lifestyle choices also have an impact. Hormonal imbalances and hormonal migraines can affect women in particular. Hormonal headache treatment may involve hormone therapy prescribed by a healthcare professional.

There are several medications for migraines available, including aspirin for migraine relief. However, it is essential to be aware of potential risks, such as aspirin liver toxicity or aspirin overdose. Symptoms of aspirin overdose can include headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect an aspirin overdose.

In conclusion, effectively managing migraines may involve a combination of natural remedies, medications, lifestyle changes, and psychological support. By understanding their triggers and seeking appropriate treatment, Australians can take steps towards finding relief and improving their overall well-being.


What causes migraines?

Migraines can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Hormonal changes, certain foods, stress, and sensory stimuli are common triggers for migraines.

What are the symptoms of a migraine headache?

The symptoms of a migraine headache can vary from person to person but often include intense throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and visual disturbances.

How long do migraines last?

Migraines can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. The duration of a migraine episode can vary depending on the individual and the specific triggers involved.

What are some natural remedies for migraine relief?

Natural remedies for migraine relief can include lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep, managing stress, practicing relaxation techniques, and avoiding known triggers. Some people also find relief through herbal supplements, acupuncture, or biofeedback.

What are the available treatment options for migraines?

Treatment options for migraines can include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and preventive medications. Psychological therapy can also assist in the management and even prevention of migraines.

Can migraines be prevented?

While it may not be possible to prevent every migraine, taking steps to avoid known triggers and implementing lifestyle changes such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, staying hydrated, and managing stress can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Are migraines hereditary?

There is evidence to suggest that migraines can run in families, indicating a genetic component to the condition. However, the exact inheritance pattern is still not fully understood.

What is migraine aura?

Migraine aura refers to a series of sensory disturbances that some individuals experience before or during a migraine attack. These disturbances can include visual changes, such as seeing flashing lights or zigzag patterns, as well as tingling in the face or hands.

Is there a connection between migraines and strokes?

Migraines and strokes are linked, although the exact nature of the relationship is still under investigation. Individuals who experience migraines with aura may have a slightly higher risk of stroke, particularly if they have other stroke risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure. It is important to recognise the symptoms of a stroke and seek medical attention if necessary.

What is the best treatment for a migraine headache?

The best treatment for a migraine headache can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help with mild migraines, while prescription medications such as triptans or ergotamines may be needed for more severe episodes. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised treatment recommendations.

Find a Psychologist

Professional support is available if you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty or you want to optimise your life. Contact iflow Psychology today. Call 02 6061 1144 to schedule an appointment.

Flexible Counselling Options

iflow Psychology offers in-person, telehealth, and telephone counselling services.

As registered psychologists, we provide compassionate support tailored to your needs. Take the first step in your journey towards well-being.

Medicare Rebates and Referrals

You may be eligible for Medicare rebates with a doctor's referral and a Mental Health Plan. Receive quality care while maximising your healthcare benefits. Let us be part of your path to healing.

Contact Us

Complete our simple enquiry form, and our friendly admin team will contact you during office hours. We are here to answer any questions and assist you in scheduling an appointment.

Location Details

Visit iflow Psychology in Leichhardt, Inner West Sydney, NSW, Australia, for in-person consultations. We also provide convenient telehealth services, ensuring accessibility no matter your location.


The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Before making any decisions, we recommend consulting your treating doctor, health professionals, and legal representatives. This is particularly important if you have health concerns, existing mental health or medical conditions, or if you feel you are not coping.


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