I’ve had a lot of people ask me what are my go-to items for combating a migraine once it hits. Of course, the prudent thing is to try to prevent them from even happening, but we all know they manage to slip in.
If I’m not quick enough to take action (i.e. take a migraine abortive prescription) or if I’ve already hit my max of prescription drugs for the week, I have to look for other ways to stave off the pain.
To know what’s in my kit, you should know what I’m dealing with. About 98 percent of the time, my migraines affect my left eye and side of my head. What starts as a dull, uncomfortable twinge under my eye usually turns into a throbbing feeling. At this point I usually wish I could pull out my eye. Graphic, but if you’re a fellow migraineur you probably know this feeling.
Lights bother me. Noises feel like they rattle my brain. If the migraine is severe enough, I’m usually nauseous as well.
Along with locking myself in a cold and dark room for a few hours, here’s what I’ve found that works for me.
A heated eye mask.
I don’t know where my husband bought this, but it was a Christmas gift a few years back. Here’s a similar one. This holds heat a lot better than a moistened hot towel and you don’t have to keep getting up (which is the last thing you want to do with a migraine) to reheat it. Rather than covering both eyes, I usually just concentrate on placing the heat right over my left eye.
A cold ice mask
Migraines are strange creatures. Sometimes my head doesn’t respond to heat, so in those cases, I reach for my chilled ice eye mask. It’s too cold to put right on my eye so I wrap it up in a paper towel and let the cold numb my head. This is also great for those migraines that seem to make the top of your head also hurt (why? Oh why, Migraine?)
I stumbled on this in a health food store and skeptically used it, but whether it is a psychological effect or real one, it has helped bring my pain down a few notches. The stick is a roller ball that distributes peppermint and lavender essential oils. I roll it onto my temples and it releases a cooling sensation that lasts just a few minutes and seems to “calm” my firing nerves in my head.
A lot of my migraines stem from stress and a sore neck and some if I’m not careful, from not properly stretching my neck muscles before and after running. I rub Biofreeze on if a migraine seems to be locking up my neck and shoulders. I find Biofreeze is a little more effective than other brands during a migraine, while I use IcyHot before a run to prevent migraines. Biofreeze is cold therapy-based so when you’re looking to numb pain, this is my go-to.
What’s in your migraine kit?