Treating Your Headaches with an OTC Migraine Medicine

A migraine can feel like an assault on your brain and senses.

Typically, it is intense, painful, and frequent. Thankfully, there are many ways to manage and prevent this medical issue.

There’s a wide variety of OTC migraine medicine options for you to choose from. Over-the-counter drugs allow you to buy medications without needing a prescription. Many of these options offer different types of pain relief for different lengths of time.

Knowing your options will allow you to figure out the best treatment for you. If you suffer from chronic migraines, this article will be useful to you.

Read on to learn all about the OTC migraine medicine options that may be right for you.


Chronic migraines tend to stick out among the most common issues that can affect people. They are classically defined by an intense, often long-lasting headache that can return frequently and unexpectedly.

They differ from a common headache since they are most often chronic. For some people, they occur in a regular or predictable manner, but for others, it can be difficult to know when a migraine is coming on.

While it is fairly easy to tell the difference between migraines and the average headache, only a medical professional can accurately diagnose this chronic issue.

The pain is most often isolated to one side of the brain and can affect a person’s senses. The person may feel a sharp pressure or pain against their eyes and may experience a sensitivity to light. Some people also experience nausea or vomiting during or after the experience as well.

Sometimes, people experience predictive symptoms known as an aura.

If they begin to see spots or lines or feel a numbness in their limbs, this may be a sign that a migraine is about to happen. These kinds of symptoms can help prevent one if the appropriate OTC migraine medicine is taken beforehand.


Science is still researching the direct causes of migraines. While no specific cause is clear, there are many triggers that are known to lead to migraines.

Unhealthy changes in habits such as eating and sleeping can lead to chronic migraines. When these habits are interrupted or someone doesn’t get enough food or sleep, the brain can respond with an intense and frequent headache.

Intense or chronic stress can also set off a migraine. Many people who experience frequent migraines typically have higher amounts of stress in their daily life.

Finally, certain sensory experiences like odors can be a trigger as well.

OTC Migraine Medicine Options

Several treatment options exist for OTC migraine medicine. Picking the right one requires paying attention to how they treat the symptoms and for how long.


This is a classic over-the-counter medicine that has been used for over a century to treat a variety of ailments. Aspirin is most well-known as a general pain reliever.

Many people will take aspirin to treat headaches, heart issues, stomach issues, or other general pains for temporary pain relief.

Aspirin can be effective at treating the short-term symptoms of migraines such as the intensity and pain. It has even been known to stop or prevent migraines from happening if taken ahead of time.


Aleve is most often used as a long-term treatment for migraine sufferers. This OTC migraine medicine requires a fair amount of time, typically 2 to 3 months, of use before sufferers begin to notice any effect.

When it does kick in, Aleve can help lessen the intensity and frequency of migraines. This is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a long-term solution without the typical side effects of the other drugs mentioned here.


Tylenol is a drug often used to combat the symptoms of general sickness and illness. For migraines, it is particularly effective for dealing with the secondary symptoms of the medical condition.

In particular, it can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. While not everyone experiences the symptoms, they can creep up during any migraine experience. Taking Tylenol during this experience can provide instant relief.

It is often combined with caffeine from soda or coffee to enhance the overall effects.


Another over-the-counter medicine that provides general pain relief, ibuprofen is a good option to consider for temporary pain relief. Ibuprofen isn’t particularly suitable for long-term or repeated use.

While this drug can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of a migraine, extended use can lead to withdrawal headaches and stomach issues. These side effects can reduce the benefits of taking the drug over time.

Things to Consider

In order to pick the right OTC migraine medicine for you, there are a few important things to think about regarding these drugs. Taking the right one might be a matter of trial and error that you should go through with the help of a medical professional.

First, you should decide whether you are looking for a short-term or long-term treatment drug. Several of the over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin are meant to offer temporary pain and symptom relief. Other drugs such as Aleve are used for more long-term benefit.

Some long-term drugs require consistent taking before you begin to notice any changes. A doctor may recommend taking a combination of long-term and short-term medications temporarily to help you through the transition time.

Second, knowing the potential side effects is also important. Any medication runs the risk of certain general side effects like illness and discomfort.

The short-term drug options also carry the risk of what is known as headache withdrawal. These drugs may produce secondary headaches that can build up over time. When it comes time to stop, these headaches may persist for a while before they disappear.

Short-term drugs also make it difficult to use consistently due to common stomach issues. This can include nausea and vomiting.

Finding the Right Option

Pain relief from migraines is certainly possible, whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term solution.

While there is no treatment that will get rid of them altogether, you can live a relatively symptom-free life by using OTC migraine medicine.

For more information on other OTC uses, check out the rest of the blog.

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