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Migraine Relief Techniques

Ever had a migraine? If you answered "no" - well then you are lucky. If you answered "yes" you don't need me to tell you that migraine headaches are both unbearable and disabling. You feel severe pain on one or both sides of your head, or behind your eyes. You develop an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and may even become nauseous from the pain. All you want to do is crawl into a dark, soundless cave, and wrap yourself in a blanket and wait until the awful nauseating pain passes.

The thing with migraines is that they can be really inconsistent, showing up with no obvious cause. Many people's migraines may be triggered by environment, sickness, or diet. Some women experience hormonal triggers, like mestruation. Stress, too much or too little sleep, alcohol, and weather changes can also cause a migraine.

Certain foods or smells can also trigger a migraine. Eating foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate) or strong smells from perfumes or chemicals like in paint can also cause a migraine.

How can you get relief? To find out,

  • Taking a cold or hot shower directed onto your head may relieve symptoms. Or you can just use a cold or hot wet washcloth. Some people find relief by taking a warm bath, or relaxing in a quiet dark room.
  • Drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee daily might help to prevent headaches to begin with.
  • My favorite tasty remedy? The ice cream technique. Some people find relief by causing a "brain freeze." Place spoonfuls of ice cream on the soft palate at the back of the mouth until they melt or become intolerable. This directly cools the hypothalamus, which is suspected to be involved with migraines.
  • Exercise daily. Regular exercise can reduce tension and stress, which may be causing your migraines in the first place.
  • Don't smoke - it can trigger headaches or make them worse.
  • You can also try over-the-counter migraine medications. If these don't work or you have recurring migraines, see your doctor and they may prescribe stronger migraine pain meds.
  • Biofeedback can help by teaching you how to avoid the physical stress that triggers the headache.
Join The Conversation
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
i just got a migraine today for the first time. I woke up with a headache but it progressed and I just wanted to poke my right eye out to make it stop. luckily it didn't make me nauseus. I had to go to a meeting at work, but after wards i came home, took some ibuprofen and took a nap. :-( Sorry to all of you who have them. I had no idea they hurt so bad. _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
wackdoodle, To be absolutely correct, the neurological cause of migraines is widely thought to be intense swelling of the blood vessels in and around the brain, which puts pressure on the nerves in the brain. Because of it's positioning, the optical nerve is often affected, which causes the aura and light sensitivity that many migraine-sufferers experience. What is up for debate, and what is highly variable from person to person is what triggers the swelling in the first place. However, a lot of natural vasocontrictors, like caffiene can help relieve this pressure, which is why some of Fit's tips (like the cup of coffee) work. But if your doctor has specifically cautioned you against them, I'm not one to disagree! Also, I 100% agree with you that many of the people who think they are having migraines aren't. It sounds like you are on the most intense end of the spectrum, while someone like me, who very much has legitimate migraines albeit sparingly, has it comparatively easy.
susanec susanec 10 years
At my worst point, mine were about 6 times a week, which made it hard to function (see curled up on couch, praying for death). A lot of docs recommend abortive meds or even preventative meds for people who get 3-5 a month. It all depends on your threshold, your doc, your triggers (if any), your response, etc. Very personal. A good doc and a treatment plan is necessary, hang in there and be patient. Nothing is perfect but hopefully everyone can find some sort of maintence/coping strategy, whatever it looks like. Be creative and persistant.
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
ugh, i get migraines & tension headaches almost everyday! :(
susanec susanec 10 years
Mine are atypical and so they may or may not lead to future problems. Who knows. It took a couple docs to agree on whether or not they actually were migraines because my pain is occipital (back of the head, above the neck), limited aura (vertigo ) but there is obviously a vascular componenet because they respond to triptans, caffeine and assorted preventatives. There's also a tension component after prolonged pain. An integrative approach is best. Trial and error is necessary. I went through all the triptans to find one that worked for me, two preventatives, one muscle relaxant, an antianxiety med, a sleeping pill and still can't always win over storm season. But definitely see a doc and remember that trying to be stoic never did anyone any good when you're curled up on the couch praying for death.
ViCkY2 ViCkY2 10 years
definately with u wackdoodle! ive had migranes ever since i can remember :( my mum has it, and her dad has it as well family thing?! ive been to the doctor, the hospital, had CTs MRIs and spent a fortune on medicine but it never gets better i just keep taking real strong aspirin to ease the pain and have to control my stress, sleeping, food etc :( will i ever be free from this pain in the head?!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 10 years
That's all very cute but the "cures" for headaches bought on by Migraine won't and don't help a true migraineur like myself. First, Migraine is a neurological disease and the "headache" or head pain is a symptom. I know this because I've had them since I was 6. Migraines are dangerous and can lead to TIA or worse an full fledged stroke. The problem with everyone thinking they have Migraine disease is first they don't and they don't even know that its an actual neurological disease that worsens over time. I went from 1 attack a year to over 6 a week. They are crippling and require hospitalization, CT Scans, and MRIs to make sure I am not stroking out. But of course my bosses thought like everyone else that a migraine is just a bad headache bought on by stress or hormones or that I was faking it, thus threats of losing my job were and are constant. In fact neurologists and researchers aren't sure what triggers-people like myself called Migrainuers to have no trigger and have multiple back to back cripling, stroke-like head pain. A tension headache is bought on by stress and can be mistaken by some for a migraine. Tension headaches respond to lavendar and message etc because they are triggered by stress. If you truly have migraines the best course action is to see a neurologist they will evaluate whether a holistic approach will help or harm you. For me, these things would lead to an actual stroke at somepoint in the near future. So I follow my neurologists advice and take daily preventative medication and abortive medication and if necessary hospitalization. People thinking they have migraine disease should really visit the national migraine association for the real deal on the disease. . Even the WHO (World Health Organization) realizes the danger posed by not understanding that Migraine is a neurological disease and treating them completely separate and from what we all call headaches.
susanec susanec 10 years
Barometric pressure and soy are my triggers, barometric pressure is a huge trigger but not often considered. Herbal preventative remedies like feverfew can help (but don't always mix well with triptans, they can increase the load of triptans in your bloodstream and make you drowsy, among other things), as can aromatherapy like lavender or peppermint. Origins Peace of Mind pulse point cream is the best!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
When I have migraines, all I want to do is sleep but I can't sleep lying down b/c it makes my head throb soooooooooo bad. So I have to try sleeping sitting up. This is not helpful b/c the migraines usually come in the evening and can get worse once I try to go to bed. They are usually caused by lack of sleep so it's very very terrible to not be able to sleep when you really want to and the migraine is making you even more tired thatn you already are but also causing you to not get a good night's sleep. ARGH. I take a preventative medicine and that seems to help. I also take Imitrex and that works on mild migraines but not the really long almost 24-hour migraines. I only get those once every few months, though, but still.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
When I was younger (like 12-16 years old), I would get terrible migraines. I would wake up with them and be out all day, but by the next day they were totally gone. I was also incredibly nauseous the whole time. Then they totally disappeared untl my senior year of college when I got one the day after 9/11. Since then, I'll get them once a year or so, but unlike when I was younger, these generally come on later in the day and have insane aura associated with them. Once I start to get that, I know I have about 20 minutes to get to my bed before I am completely useless. I tried taking Tyelenol Migraine once I started getting aura and it just made me even sicker. Unfortunately, I have no idea what triggers them. They come so irregularly that it's hard for me to track the triggers so I can avoid them. Bleh. Migraines are the worst.
lindaloo lindaloo 10 years
I was getting headaches just like that before my period every month. And they were somewhat different from the "regular" migraines I would sometimes wake up with. My doctor prescribed some medicine to take 3 days leading to my period but it's $40. Didn't seem to do much to help and was expensive. Now I just take Relpax when I feel one coming on. Good tips in this article.
lovekailua lovekailua 10 years
once a month the night before my period comes sometimes lasting 24 hours (but not all of that is the worst pain, it just lingers) boooooooooooo migraines! i have to try these
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