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Discharge Instructions for Migraine

Migraine is a type of headache that keeps coming back. Other sensations, called an aura, may come before a migraine.

It is treated with self-care, lifestyle changes, and medicine.

Steps to Take

Home Care

When you have symptoms:

  • Place a cold pack on your head.
  • Lie in a dark, quiet room.
  • Try to fall asleep.

Lifestyle Changes

Note anything that triggers your migraines. It may help to:

  • Keep a food diary and avoid foods that cause problems
  • Learn coping skills and relaxation techniques
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking


Your doctor may advise medicines for pain and nausea.

When taking medicines:

  • Take the medicine as advised. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects of your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Plan ahead for refills.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one. This includes over the counter products and supplements.


Your doctor will need to check on your progress. Be sure to go to all appointments.

Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occur

Call your doctor if you are having problems managing migraines or you have:

  • Pain that cannot be controlled with medicine
  • Reactions from medicines, such as muscle symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light-headedness
  • Rapid, uneven heartbeat, or chest pain
  • Rash or hives

Call for medical help or go the emergency room right away for:

  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Confusion or difficulty speaking
  • Vision problems
  • Jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness

American Headache Society

American Migration Foundation


The College of Family Physicians of Canada

Health Canada


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Migraine prophylaxis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/results?q=migraine+in+adults+prophylaxis. Accessed January 22, 2021.

NINDS migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page. Accessed January 22, 2021.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary Beth Seymour, RN