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How to get rid of migraine fast: 6 ways

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CausesTreatment methodsPreventionSummary
Migraine episodes can cause a throbbing headache on one side of your head. Certain medications and home remedies can help improve your migraine and quickly alleviate symptoms.
Medically reviewed by Susan W. Lee, DO
Updated on

Migraine is a common health condition that can cause moderate to severe head pain. This condition is typically more common in people assigned female at birth.

While migraine attacks can be debilitating and cause severe discomfort, there are several ways you may be able to reduce symptoms quickly. This includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications, keeping yourself hydrated, and using a cold compress.

Causes of migraine

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The specific cause of migraine is currently unknown. It is thought migraine occurs due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Migraine is significantly more prominent in people assigned female at birth, with a rate of 1 in 5 compared to 1 in 18 individuals assigned male at birth.

Migraine often runs in families, suggesting a hereditary link to this condition. Most people experience spontaneous migraine episodes without being exposed to any migraine trigger. However, migraine occurs in some people only in specific circumstances, such as after eating a particular food or doing certain activities.

The triggers of migraine can vary from person to person. Common triggers that can increase the risk of migraine include:

  • stress
  • loud or sudden noises
  • bright or flashing lights
  • too much or not enough sleep
  • sudden weather or environmental changes
  • overexertion
  • hormonal changes
  • low blood sugar and skipping meals
  • motion sickness
  • strong odors or fumes

Treatment methods for migraine

There are several treatment methods that may help provide fast migraine relief by reducing symptoms such as pain and inflammation. This includes:

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications

Doctors may recommend taking OTC medications to treat less severe cases of migraine. These can include pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil).

However, overusing OTC medications can also lead to rebound headaches, creating a cycle of increased migraine episodes. If you find your migraine episodes frequent and reoccur after using OTC medications, consider speaking with a healthcare professional. They can put together a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.

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Prescription medications

Doctors may prescribe medications for more acute episodes of migraine. Migraine prescription medications typically include NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and triptans.

Examples include:

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Keep yourself hydrated

Dehydration can often lead to headaches and migraine. Ensuring you drink plenty of fluids can help prevent and reduce the frequency of migraine. Drinking your recommended daily water intake can also lower the duration and the severity of migraine when it occurs.

Daily water intake can differ for each individual. It can be helpful to speak with a doctor to identify how much water you should be aiming to drink each day based on your needs.


A 2021 study found that ginger can significantly reduce migraine throbbing pain in 2 hours and improve other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. Ginger is available in the form of supplements.

Before taking ginger supplements, you should speak with a doctor to ensure it is safe for you to do so and that they will not interact with any other medications you may be taking.

You can also add raw ginger to warm water and honey to make tea.

Cold compress

Applying a cold compress to your head may help relieve migraine pain. This may be because the cold can help constrict blood vessels and slow the nerve signals during a migraine episode. Cold can also have a numbing effect that reduces pain perception.

Cold compresses may also help migraine if it occurs due to sun exposure or heat. However, the exact reason why cold compresses treat migraine is not clear.

Rest in a quiet and dark room

During a migraine attack, people are typically sensitive to light and sound. Finding a quiet and dark room can relieve migraine symptoms, helping to ease the pain and reduce your stress, a common trigger of migraine episodes.

You can also perform breathing exercises while you are resting. This can increase your relaxation and may help your migraine go away faster.

How can you prevent migraine?

Understanding what triggers your migraine attacks, such as stress, not drinking enough water, or eating a particular food, can play an important role in preventing them. Avoiding your triggers can significantly decrease the chance of having a migraine attack.

It can be helpful to keep a migraine diary to help identify your triggers. Examples of what you can keep track of on the days you experience an attack include:

  • what you ate and drank
  • symptoms you experienced
  • the weather
  • any medication you were taking
  • what activities you did

Certain lifestyle measures can also reduce the risk of migraine. This includes:

  • getting enough sleep
  • maintaining low levels of stress
  • doing physical exercise regularly
  • eating a balanced and healthy diet
  • avoiding skipping meals
  • limiting alcohol and caffeine intake

Doctors may prescribe medications to prevent migraine attacks if you still experience severe migraine after avoiding triggers. These may include:


Migraine is a common condition that causes throbbing pain on one side of your head. It can be debilitating and affect day-to-day life for many. However, several home remedies and medications can help treat migraine episodes and make symptoms go away quickly.

This includes:

  • OTC medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • prescription medications for acute episodes, such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) and indomethacin (Indocin)
  • consuming ginger
  • using a cold compress

Doctors may also recommend making lifestyle measures that can help reduce the risk of migraine. If you still experience severe migraine after making these changes, doctors may prescribe you medications that can help prevent and reduce the severity of migraine episodes.

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