Migraine Medication may Help Relieve Dizzy Spells

Migraine medication may help people with dizziness or vertigo from vestibular migraines. In this blog, I will discuss different types of medications.

Resting in a quiet, cool, dark place may help relieve a migraine episode. Trying to fall asleep is the best strategy to relieve a full-blown migraine episode. 

Many patients choose to use medications to help with medical management of dizzy spells or vertigo attacks caused by vestibular migraines.

Abortive Migraine Medication

Some patients may benefit from “abortive” migraine medications, such as triptans. This type of medication typically must be taken within 30 minutes of the first appearance of migraine symptoms appearing to stave off a full-blown vertigo attack.

For patients who get a preceding aura before a classic migraine starts, it may be easier to take this medication within the right time window.

If you miss the critical time window to take this medication after the onset of migraine symptoms, it will not likely be effective. Abortive migraine medications may be taken as a pill or given as an injection. The injection form is especially helpful if you are vomiting.

Like all medications, abortive migraine medications have side effects. Therefore, I suggest you review the potential side effects if you get this prescription.

This medication is usually prescribed as needed, but these prescriptions are not meant to be taken too often.

Many years ago, when I used to take this type of medication during every migraine episode, I was taking it “as needed” which was how it was prescribed. However, that turned out to be way more often than is recommended or safe.

I didn’t even realize that until I started having chest pains. Once I noticed this side effect, I discussed with my doctor and we realized I was taking triptans more often than recommended.

You should ask your doctor how often you can safely take abortive migraine medication if you have been prescribed this medication “as needed.” 

Preventative Migraine Medication

If you are getting daily migraines or need medication more often than is safe to take an abortive migraine medication, then you may be well suited to take a preventative medication on a regular basis.

Doctors may decide to prescribe preventative medications for some patients, on a case-by-case basis. Preventative medications may come in the form of a daily pill or a monthly injection.

The goal of this type of medication is to reduce the frequency or severity of migraines. All medications have side effects, so you should be familiar with the potential side effects to report to your doctor.

Injectable Medication for Muscle Tension

Migraine patients may benefit from botox injections in the muscles of the head, neck, or jaw if their doctor thinks that might be appropriate. The goal of this type of injectable medication management is also preventative.

The theory is that the botox will reduce tension in the muscles that might be triggering frequent, recurrent migraine episodes.

Oral Medication for Muscle Tension

Some patients with frequent, recurrent migraine episodes due to tension in their head, neck, and jaw may benefit from a muscle relaxer. This medication is usually taken as a pill.

Many patients split their pill in half or take a very low dose when they feel tension building up in their neck muscles. The goal of this medication is to prevent chronic migraines that are triggered by neck tension.

Physical therapy for neck tension or neck pain may also be helpful.

Allergy Medication

Some patients get a migraine that is triggered by a preceding sinus headache. In those cases, reducing sinus congestion by taking allergy medication may be a preventative for migraines.

For example, a doctor may prescribe nasal spray or a pill for allergies. That can reduce sinus headaches. Over the counter medications may be helpful to reduce allergies or sinus congestion that can lead to sinus headaches, and then trigger a migraine for some people.

If you notice that your nose is stuffy, your eyes are itchy, or you are sneezing before the onset of a migraine, talk to your doctor about options to manage your allergies. The allergies and sinus congestion may be a deeper root cause of recurrent migraines, especially for people who live in high pollen or windy environments.

For example, most of the patients who travel here to see me from the palm desert area of California have allergies as a deeper root cause of recurrent vertigo attacks. For migraine patients, this root cause is indirect because the allergies can trigger a sinus headache which in turn can trigger a vestibular migraine.

Many patients find that cutting back on dairy intake can reduce sinus congestion.

Some Combination of Migraine Medications

I have worked with some patients who use multiple medications. For example, a migraine patient may get botox injections at their doctor’s office every few months and use preventative medication to try to reduce the frequency and severity of vestibular migraines. They may also take an abortive medication as needed during the onset of an episode.

Another patient example may be someone who uses an allergy pill and a nasal spray daily to manage allergies. Then this same patient may take an abortive medication as needed if a sinus headache escalates to cause a migraine episode.

A third patient may take a daily pill to prevent migraines, then use allergy medicine or nasal spray as needed for sinus congestion. Then this same patient can take an abortive medication as needed if they feel a migraine coming on.

I have tried all these types of medications over a period of decades, and I didn’t get much relief. So now as a lifelong migraine sufferer, I have developed a lot of self-care strategies for migraine prevention and migraine treatment.

Click here to learn seven strategies for migraine prevention without the use of medications.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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